Are you ready for April Fool's Day?

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Over the years the public has been caught out on a number of hoaxes from spaghetti trees to powdered water. April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day brings a touch of insanity to the country and there are still plenty of people prepared to pull a prank or two on April the 1st.

Top April Fool's searches:
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  2. Jokes
  3. Shock lighters
  4. Stink bombs
  5. April Fool's Day pranks
  6. Fake poo
  7. Comedy clubs
  8. Hand buzzer
  9. Costumes
  10. Fake blood
We may all have licence to act a little mad on this day but just how did it all begin? There are many stories about the origins of April Fools. One of the most popular is that it began in 1564, when France changed its calendar to the modern Gregorian version and moved the New Year's Day celebrations from the last week of March to January 1st. Anyone still celebrating New Year from the old calendar was thought to be a fool or, as the French might put it, poisons d'Avril.

There are other explanations: there is the tradition of renewal festivals, which are found all over the world. These festivals often involve ritualised chaos, which has gradually become a day for pranks and hoaxes.

Then there is the story of Gotham in N Nottinghamshire. Apparently, in the 13th century, King John was refused entry to a village because the locals thought he might claim the through road as his own. When he sent for his soldiers all the villagers pretended to be mad, thereby avoiding punishment.

Today, April Fool's isn't so widely celebrated as it once was. This may be because we now have lots of shows, all year round, where people are subject to pranks. Newspapers and magazines still uphold the tradition of hoaxing though, so keep your eyes peeled on the day.

TV of course, is not completely immune to the odd spoof, even if the spaghetti weevil hasn't made a comeback just yet. In 2008, the BBC aired an elaborate hoax about flying penguins. Another prank, this time on the radio, concerned the Archers radio show having a new electronic theme tune, created by pop producer Brian Eno.

The Car maker BMW even joined in claiming to have invented a dog-repelling alloy that would protect your wheels from leg cocking pets and last year a rumour went round the UK was going to ask France to share the Olympics

Remember the fun all stops at noon:

There is a rhyme that children recite if anyone attempts an April fool trick after 1 April:

April Fool is dead and gone,
You're a fool to carry it on.