Poisson d’avril – April Fool’s Day is More French Than You Think!
The original April Fool’s pranks can be traced back to France, where the holiday is still called “April Fish” or Poisson d’avril (pwa-SOHN dah-VREEL) to this day!
According to popular opinion (or at least my childhood French teacher), the holiday started when King Charles XIV reformed the French calendar. Before the everyone caught the news (you know, carrier pigeon glitches), those who were unaware of the change had pranks played on them. In particular, pranksters used to offer gifts of fish (traditional New Years offerings) to those “fools” who were unknowingly celebrating the New Year at the wrong time.
Today, young children in France still play April Fish pranks by sneakily taping a paper fish onto the back of the person they want to prank, though many don’t know the origins of the fish at all!
Personally, I’m all for going back to the age when getting “pranked” meant you got to come home with a nice fish for dinner! If you’re looking to celebrate April Fool’s Day in a Franco-foodie way, it’s time to break out the fish! I’m thinking a classic sole meunière…
How do you celebrate April Fool’s day? Will you be eating fish? Playing fish-pranks on anyone? Let me know in the comments!