Monday, March 31, 2014

Poisson d'Avril: April Fool's Day Tradition in France

Poisson d'Avril - France's April Fool's Day Tradition
I love learning about different traditions celebrated in other countries. When I first heard how the French celebrate April Fool's Day I was quite confused. The day is called Poisson d'Avril and the tradition is to tape a paper fish drawing on to your friend's back without them knowing. It has the same light hearted silliness as a prank one might play on April Fool's Day in the United States, but the prank never changes. It's always a fish. So, why the name "April fish" and how did the tradition come to be?

After doing a little research, it's clear that there's not a definitive answer, but the most plausible seems to revolve around the changing of the New Year from the end of March to January 1st in 1564 by King Charles XIV of France. Since communication at that time was very poor the news of the change of the New Year date was slow to spread. There was no way to tweet the information, in fact, there wasn't even a reliable postal system at the time. For those who had not heard the news or were reluctant to change, a joke was played on them. The joke was to stick a paper fish on their back. The victim of the prank was then called a Poisson d'Avril or April Fish.

Today in France, many school age children love to continue the tradition. Also, many of the patisseries and confectionaries throughout France shape their breads and chocolates into fish for the festivities. Yum!

Below I created some playful hand drawn fish for you to try out the tradition yourself. Just print the page, cut out the fish and have fun finding an unsuspecting person to become a Poisson d'Avril! If you are looking for some crafts too, be sure to also check out Marie Claire Idées Poisson d'Avril Pinterest board. Have fun and hope you can stay clear of becoming an April fish!

Free Printable Poisson d'Avril Fish
Free Printable Fish for Poisson d'Avril by B.Nute productions
Instructions for Making Your Poisson d'Avril
1. Select each link above, and print out the page on an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper.
2. Cut out each fish and put a piece of tape on the top.
3. Find your unsuspecting friends and try to tape the fish on their back without them knowing!

Printable items are copyright protected, and provided free of charge by B.Nute productions for personal use only. B.Nute's printables can not be sold, altered, or provided for download on any other site. For questions or inquiries, please contact B.Nute productions.