Kids celebrate it by sticking or hanging a fish shaped piece of paper on the backs of people they want to trick, and once the joke played is discovered, they yell « poisson d’avril ! ».
How did April fool’s day start in France?
According to popular beliefs, the New Year used to start on April 1st up to the mid-sixteenth century. But as King of France, Charles IX wanted the year to start on January 1st, so he made a swift change to the French calendar and made it official on the Edict of Roussillon. Legend has it that some people were not at all happy with this enforced law for many reasons, and continued to celebrate the new year in their own way around April 1st. The people who embraced the new calendar started to mock the reluctant ones and gave them false presents and played tricks on them.
But pourquoi le poisson (why the fish)?
During that time, the 1st of April coincided with the end of Lent when the Church forbade Christians to eat meat. Fish was tolerated and was often used in the offering of gifts for the New Year. When the jokes started to become more common, false fish were often used to trick the victim. There lies the legendary origin of April Fish, stuck on the back of the fools, those who did not accept the changing times or who saw the world through their own eyes only.
April 1st is the ideal day to “jouer un tour” (play a trick on) people around you, so I wanted to share a few pranks, in French of course, to play on your victims, mwah-ha-ha! Hope you have a good laugh!!