While it is customary to make jokes on April 1st in France too, April’s fool is called April’s fish! In French ‘poisson d’avril’. Yeah… Because in France, it’s tradition to hook a hand-cut paper fish on people’s back. Fun memories from my childhood come to mind, especially when we’d manage to hook a fish on the teacher’s back! Adults rarely join the game, they rather try hard to fool their friends, family or colleagues with fake stories or ‘jokes’, often too obviously not believable. Last year you could read in the news that Qatar was going to buy the Eiffel Tower… Alliance Française de Melbourne today had a go and posted on Facebook that French was to become the official national language in Australia… My home town published a photo of ‘Place Stanislas’ – the main city square – missing its famous statue, supposedly blown away by the wind (although they are experiencing unusual strong winds at the moment)… Do I really need to give more examples? Well, at least everyone tries hard! But irrespective of age, I think we should all stick with the paper fish, be juvenile and cheeky, and have a good belly laugh!!! :-)

For the (hi)story…

The origin of this tradition is believed to have began in France in 1564 when King Charles IX decided the year should start on January 1st instead of April 1st.  As some people still kept celebrating the New Year on April 1st, others would make fun of them by offering them fake presents, including fake fish.  That is how April 1st became “Fool’s Day”, or a day for those not yet ready to accept reality.

You can read more on April 1st and Easter in France on the Alliance Française website, in English or in French!

Poisson d'avril !

Cut along the lines and hook the fish on someone’s back!