PARIS — April Fools' Day is an international celebration of silliness, with roots in ancient Rome, India and the first written reference in The Canterbury Tales. In France and Italy, the poisson d'avril and pesce d'aprile respectively, is a traditional call to spend the day trying to tape a paper cut-out of a fish on the back of an unsuspecting friend. There and elsewhere, the pranks have gotten far more elaborate. Here's a collection of five of the all-time best:
Switzerland's Tourism Board released a video on April 1, 2009 revealed the secret to keeping the countries' mountains looking so darn clean: the hard work of the Association of Swiss Mountain Cleaners. Some 30,000 fell for this Alpine hoax, and filled out the online test to apply for a job with the mountain-cleaning crew.
On the first day of April in 1953, the BBC broadcast a report that a mild winter along the border of Italy and Switzerland had led to the virtual disappearance of the "spaghetti weevil," and led to a bumper crop in the local pasta orchads.
Swedish television broadcast a public service announcement for their viewers in 1952, explaining that there was a way to convert their TV sets to color, simply by pulling a nylon stocking over their screen.
Last year, Irish RTE broadcaster reported on the launch of a new TV channel focused on programming for an untapped audience: house pets.
In 1998, Burger King proudly announced the introduction of its signature Whopper burger made especially for left-handed, with all condiments rotated 180 degrees.