Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Poisson d'Avril

"April Fools" in France: When my husband was young, he and his classmates would play tricks on each other by taping paper or aluminum fish (poisson) on the back of each others coats or would hang a paper fish around a friend's neck. If you fell victim, the others would erupt in playful laughter. He also has fond memories of chocolate fish being sold at the local chocolatier. Not a bad tradition if you ask me!

The linkage between April Fools Day and fish goes back to the abundance of fish to be found in French streams and rivers during early April when the young fish had just hatched. These young fish were easy to fool with a hook and lure. Therefore, the French called them 'Poisson d'Avril' or 'April Fish.' Soon it became customary (according to this origin theory) to fool people on April 1, as a way of celebrating the abundance of foolish fish. The French still use the term 'Poisson d'Avril' to describe the unfortunate victims of April Fool's Day pranks.

It felt only appropriate to have a tuna sandwich for lunch today since the diet forbids me from indulging on a chocolate fish! I'm holding out for that box of Chocolates that will be sent from the in-laws in France to us for Pâques (Easter).


Cezar and Léia said...

Hello Dear friend!
So nice to know about it!This French tradition is so cool!
Kind Regards and a wonderful April for all of us! :-)
Au revoir!

RainGardener said...

Thank you so much for finding your way to my Grandma's Helpers post.
What a fun and interesting piece this was about your husbands childhood memories of April Fools Day. I think the tuna sandwich is a pretty fair swap if you get to hold out for French Chocolates. Yum are we going to be envious of you! Stop by again and see me. Linda

Barb said...

Oh Nancy, I loved reading about this April Fool tradition in France.I had to laugh as I read about it and french chocolates for easter yum.I hope your foot feels better soon, have you seen the doctor about it? Take care....Barb

*SparkleMirror* Kiln-Fired Art Studio said...

Having followed blogs about Paris and France in general for less than a year now, I have been introduced to "Poisson d'Avril" for the first time from several informative bloggers like you. What a treat. Maybe I'll start a tradition in our family. Sounds like fun. Thanks.

Sue said...

I'm a little late, but I just learned something new. Thanks!