April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day is celebrated on 1 April every year and people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other on the day.
The jokes as well as their victims are known as "April fools".
The custom of setting aside a day for playing harmless pranks, the April Fools' Day, is observed by people across the globe since the middle ages. Some precursors of April Fools' Day can be found in the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India and the medieval feast of fools.
There also have been instances where newspapers, radio channels and television channels have come up with elaborate April Fools' pranks.
Here are 10 hoax stories that we have carefully compiled together for the April Fools' Day 2015. These prank stories not only fooled many, but are still among the best till now:
1. Harvesting Spaghetti from Trees: Hailed as the "the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled", BBC television programme Panorama ran a hoax in 1957, showing Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. The news soon went viral and hundreds of callers started enquiring about how to grow their own spaghetti trees.
2. Nylon Stockings can Turn a Black and White TV into a Colour TV: A Swedish national television in 1962 fooled many into thinking they can get a colour TV by placing a nylon stocking in front of a black and white TV.
3. Flying Penguins: BBC carried an elaborate video segment claiming to have discovered a new colony of flying penguins. The full length documentary even had Terry Jones walking with the penguins in Antarctica, and following their flight to the Amazon rainforest.
4. U2 Live Rooftop performance in Cork: Hundreds of U2 fans were tricked into believing by local radio station RedFM that the band will be performing at a surprise rooftop concert in Cork, in 2009. Thousands came in for the gig, but then it turned out that it was a tribute band, called the U2Utopia, which was actually playing at the venue.
5. Taco Liberty Bell and Lincoln Mercury Memorial: Popular food chain Taco Bell, in 1996, took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that it has purchased The Liberty Bell - a symbol of American independence, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell".
Later journalists who were also fooled by the April Fools' prank asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry in a tongue-in-cheek reply stated that even Lincoln Memorial has been sold and would henceforth be known as the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
6. When a History Professor Played a Prank on Associated Press: In 1983, Joseph Boskin - a professor of history at Boston University - made a fake explanation about the origin of April Fools' Day. He then tricked The Associated Press to believe hat he was able to trace the practise to the Constantines' period, when as a joke a court jester was made a king for a day. The Associated Press carried an article on Boskin's theory unaware that the history professor was playing a practical joke on everyone on April Fools' day.
7. Best Opening Move in Chess: Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner wrote an article in April 1975 about the best opening move in chess discovered at the MIT. He claimed that the MIT engineers have invented a new chess computer program that predicted "pawn to queens rook four" is always the best opening move.
8. When The Guardian Newspaper Created a Fictional Island Nation: San Serriffe was one of the most famous hoaxes of recent decades. On 1 April, 1977, The Guardian published a seven-page hoax supplement which carried a review of a foreign country. The lengthy piece commemorated the tenth anniversary of the island's independence, complete with themed advertisements from major companies.
9. Jovian–Plutonian Gravitational effect: In 1976, British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told listeners of BBC Radio 2 that due to a unique alignment of two planets on 1 April, people will be able to experience "a strange floating sensation". The hoax became so popular that many even claimed that they experienced the phenomena. A woman told BBC that she and her 11 friends "wafted from their chairs and orbited gently around the room".
10. When a Fake Tony Blair called Nelson Mandela on 1 April: UK presenter Nic Tuff of West Midlands radio station called up then South African President Nelson Mandela pretending to be British Prime Minister Tony Blair for a chat. Mandela fell for the joke and came to know that he was talking to a impostor only when Tuff asked Mandela what he was doing on April Fools' Day.