Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fish!

Today's Wonder of the World is...Poisson d'Avril, or April Fish!

Back in my French life, my family LOVED April 1st on account of the fish!
Both the chocolate ones...

Flickr photo by mette langer
Yum! (Crack the really fancy ones open and you may find baby chocolate fish!)

And the paper ones!

Flickr photo by fannyb
See, while we're playing April Fools jokes on each other, filing fake news stories about flying penguins and spaghetti farms, kids all over France are making fish out of paper and taping them to the backs of unsuspecting friends and family!

When the trickee discovers the fish on her back, the tricker yells out, "Poisson d'Avril!"
April Fish!

Even teachers should be wary!

Flickr photo by miniasm
You probably know that the whole April Fools thing started back in 1564, when the king of France, Charles IX, decided to change the first day of the calendar year from April 1st to January 1st. Those stubborn sticks in the mud who refused to change or simply forgot were called April Fools and were treated to gag gifts and pranks.

Like this puffer fish on the back!

Flickr photo by hbsmithie

But where does the poisson part come in? Why April Fish?
It's a little unclear, but good ole Monsieur Wikipedia says the fish might have been chosen for any or all of the following reasons:
1. April 1 occurs after the sign of the zodiac changes from Pisces the fish to Aries the Ram. (This doesn't make sense to me. If that's the reason, why wouldn't they choose April Ram instead?Maybe a fish is easier to draw and cut out?)
2. April 1 occurs during Lent, when everyone ate fish instead of meat.
(Would that really be considered funny?)
3. To confuse the simpleton, by giving him a fish on April 1, when fishing season hadn't even started yet! (Ha! That'll fix him! This is by far my favorite reason.)

Whatever the reason, it seems that even statues should watch their backs.

Flickr photo by Aldor
Or maybe I should say their backsides!

Happy April Fools Day, friends! And watch your back!

If this little girl were to watch the crazy commercial below, she might drop her fish and run for the hills!
I think it's hilarious, but I don't mind a little Three Stooges once in a while.

Have a wonder-full Wednesday, y'all!
Love, Becky


jama said...

Cool post, didn't know about the fish. Happy April Fool's Day!

Notre Vie Juteuse said...

we were at the Hyper-U today, here in France, and we bought some salmon and I wondered what all the paper fish hanging from strings were doing there, I just figured it was a cute decoration to show that they sold fish. Now I know. I didn't see any chocolate fishes though, plenty of bunnies for easter though.

Rosemary said...

Hi Rebecca,
No fooling? Chocolate fish!! Who knew? I bet it doesn't tase fishy.
Thanks for the great post!!
Chat soon,

LW said...

An April Fish…

I have a few old French children’s magazines
from the 1920’s.
I have to look to see if there are any paper fish.

Have a Happy April Fools day…


Renee said...

Becky I love this.

I didn't know that and it is so interesting.

I still have to tell you there is no other blog like yours on the net, I am sure of it.

Love Renee xoxo

Susan said...

What an interesting and informative post. And it' really cool how you got your face to pop up in the middle of that video. Wow!

TattingChic said...

LOL! That Salmon commercial is hilarious!
Happy APril Fools day! :)

Fete et Fleur said...

I'm still laughing as I write this. That add was hilarious!! I needed the chuckle. Thank you for your prayers.


adrienne said...

What a cute custom! Much more whimsical and fun than a "kick me" sign.

Anonymous said...

I miss the poisson d'avril! nobody does anything fun for april fool's day in college. haha. Happy April Fool's Day Mom! Cute post!

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Thanks for the history lesson--I've seen the postcards and never understood what they meant.

Linda Crispell said...

Where have I been??? This is the first time I have heard this fishy story. I guess I never noticed all of the fish when I lived there. Thanks, looks like I need to get busy today with paper fish and tape.
My kids have always looked forward to the April Fool leaving them gag gifts on April 1st.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Susan, are you trying to fool me? You sneaky girl!

May Vanderbilt said...

Did you ever explain to the French that we have something similar with the whole Kick Me signs?

My coworker and I spent the day pinching stuff off this guy's desk, wondering how long it would take for him to notice.

The answer? All. day.


May Vanderbilt said...

Did you ever explain to the French that we have something similar with the whole Kick Me signs?

My coworker and I spent the day pinching stuff off this guy's desk, wondering how long it would take for him to notice.

The answer? All. day.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I remember this from when I was in French class. Our teacher gave us chocolate fish and they tasted SO creamy and were so perfectly molded. Such a clever tradition.

CC said...

I've just been educated. Never heard of April Fish. That's awesome. I like the idea way more than the trickery some people do around here. Can you remind me about this next March 30th or so..... so I can do it next year?? ;)

cindy said...

Too funny! I had no idea...will have to steal this idea for next year! :D


Renee said...

Too funny. I sometimes walk out of the house the minute mine walks in too, or I should say I did when the kids were small.


Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Rebecca, I had not ever heard of April Fish before till I saw this post on your blog the other day.. then Max came home and was talking about it too.. Thanks for the info!!

april 1 is my brother's birthday and april 2 my sister's... I think they must both be April Fish...

Teresa said...

We flew out of Clermont-Ferrand on April 1st with our luggage full of chocolate fish wrapped and packaged like sardines. Great gifts for the folks back home!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Teresa, I bet they'll love them! I remember that the best surprise about those chocolate fish was how delicious they were!