It’s always exciting to begin a new month, and that’s no joke!
April 1st can be a little ‘fishy’ especially if you are in France. I am referring to the ‘Poisson d’Avril’ tradition celebrated by all French children and lots of adults as well! As an April Fools trick the objective it is to somehow stick a fish, a paper fish not a real one of course on the back of as many adults, friends, teachers as possible. What fun, and what an optimal day for children! Giggling abounds as they angle a way to put that fish on you. You’ll hear laughing and shouting “Poisson d’Avril” (April Fish)! As for the adults among us a day of joke telling and some general tomfoolery goes on while (yes) sticking the paper fish to your back! Oh la la the fun never stops. Beware that you don’t become laden with ‘the fish of the day’.
When I researched the origin of this tradition I was surprised to find it harkened back to 1564 when the King Charles IX change the date the new year began. Up until that time the new year in most parts of France had begun on April 1st though some on March 25th, a time near the vernal equinox. King Charles IX changed the start of the New Year to January 1st throughout France to unify the country. This change was included in the Edict of Roussilion.
Though eventually the change was quite widely accepted there were still some ‘holdouts’ who continued to celebrate their New Years Day on April first. They were made fun of and became the brunt of practical jokes, sent on ‘fools’ errands, generally tricked into believing something false.
I think it’s related to Spring Fever fun. At last the vernal equinox is here the dark days of winter have past and everyone is rejoicing. How could we not when everywhere we look we are surrounded by new life and rebirth.
Wishing you a spirited and not to fishy Poisson d’Avril,