The origins of April Fools’ Day (or All Fools’ Day) have always been a mystery. Experts can’t agree on exactly how this holiday began, but there are a ton of interesting theories. We do know that this and similar holidays have been celebrated all over the world since the middle ages.

The most popular theory dates back to 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII created the Gregorian calendar. This moved the first day of the new year from April 1 (the start of spring) to January 1. This calendar change was met with many critics, and some stubbornly continued to celebrate the new year at the end of March and beginning of April. Those who did abide the new change referred to these willful individuals as April Fools.

The prankster holiday could be a continuation of several ancient festivals from around the globe, too. It seems almost every culture has a day for pranks. Ancient Romans celebrated Hilaria which involved costumes and disguises. In Scotland, they celebrate Tailie Day which involves pinning fake tails onto friend’s pants, or “kick me” signs on their backs. In India, they celebrate Holi in which people toss colorful dyes onto each other among other pranks. Even Persia has a similar holiday: Sizdahbedar.

No matter where this holiday comes from, it’s always fun to hear about classic pranks. For instance, Britain seems to have had the edge on pranks at the beginning. In April of 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to see lions being bathed. The jokes continued on year after year. In 1976, BBC Radio announced to their listeners that because of a rare astronomical alignment of Pluto and Jupiter, Earth’s gravity would decrease. Listeners were urged to jump at exactly 9:47AM to feel the sensation of floating. People were so convinced, the radio station actually had callers claiming to feel the effects. In 1980, Britain was back at it again with a prank. This time, it involved Big Ben which, BBC reported, would be converted to a digital clock in order to modernize its look. Britain’s citizens were outraged at the blatant disregard of British culture.

America has had some fun, too. In 1985, Sports Illustrated convinced many of its readers that they’d found a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball at 168 mph. Perhaps the funniest pranks played on Americans have been by fast food restaurants. Taco Bell told people it would be purchasing the Liberty Bell in 1996. They were going to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. Two years later, Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper”. Burger King later reported that they’d received hundreds of customers requesting the fake sandwich.

Do you have a favorite April Fools’ Day prank? Tell us in the comments below. We’ll share our favorites on our Facebook page!