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Poisson d’Avril – April Fool’s Day in France

poisson avril in France

Guillaume, our French friend from the neighbouring village dropped in for a beer one morning. Nothing unusual in that.

He did however have a paper fish stuck to the back of his jacket which got our attention.

This was April 1st and in France April Fool’s Day called Poisson d’Avril and a day for pranks and paper fish!

April Fool’s Day has been around for centuries and is celebrated in many countries and no one really knows why or where it started. I like the explanation that in ancient times 1st April was considered New Year’s Day, but when it was changed to January 1st in the 16th Century by Pope Gregory, some people continued to celebrate on the 1st April – the fools!

The term poisson d’Avril actually means April fish, and is meant to refer to a person who had been duped by an April fools prank. Those who have been pranked are marked by a tag shaped like a fish and it is a very popular tradition with children.

Guillaume, our friend had been pranked by his children that morning, they had taped the paper fish to his jacket and he hadn’t noticed at all and we certainly didn’t tell him!

Expect to see outrageous claims in the media for Poisson d’Avril  – I once read in a major French newspaper that bears were to be released into the Vosges Mountains!

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