Happy New Year? Or April Fool’s Day? Which is it? What are you talking about? Is this a joke on April Fool’s Day?!
Yes, indeed it is the 1st of April and as is traditional, practical jokes are played on this day, in particular, in the news.
In schools, pupils would tell a story, play tricks, jokes and proclaim “April fool’s Day!” as well as “pinch punch (on your arm) 1st day of the month” or “white rabbits, white rabbits”. What a strange bunch we all are!
Well here in France, April Fool’s day is called “Poisson d’avril” whereby unspecting individuals have a paper fish stuck onto their back. Upon discovery of said fish on your back, you will hear someone or everybody shout “Poisson d’avril”!
The history is a little sketchy but it appears to date back to 1562 when Pope Gregory decided to change the New Year date of 1 April, to the present day date of 1 January.
It appeared that, depending on where you were in France, this would determine when the New Year Started. So, in 1562 King Charles IX signed the declaration of “Edict of Roussillon” to start the New Year in January.
Much like the pension reforms, many French people were quite happy with the existing date of 1 April, being the date of the New Year. For those that thought otherwise – people decided to play tricks on them.
This is how the story goes and who are we to argue?! Although this could be the world’s longest April fool joke in history. Who knows?
But what we do know is, that is sounds a much better story, than one day a French man or woman decided to stick a fish on someone’s back because it was April 1st.
We like it and we hope you do too!