Happy April Fish Day! The French version of April Fools Day
Children tape paper fish to their friends’ backs and when the young “fool” finds out, the person shouts “Poisson d’Avril!”
The Independent in an article today indicates that the origins of April Fools could be linked back to the French change to the Gregorian calendar, “Still, whether it’s true or not, one popular tale dates the tradition to 1564, when France formally changed its calendar to the modern Gregorian version, and thereby moved the celebration of the New Year from the last week of March to 1 January. In this version of events, those who continued to celebrate the end of New Year’s Week on 1 April were derided as fools – or, as they are known in France, poissons d’Avril.”
It is not known exactly why a fish is used but there are several possibilities:
- It is in the zodiac sign of Pisces, the fish
- It is in the period of lent when traditionally it is not permitted to eat fish.
- Confusing a simpleton by offering a fish at a time of year when fishing was in fact band
Everything points the fact though that what ever traditions you take to across Britain, France, America or the rest of the world the whole place goes as mad as a fish!