Is there April Fools in Paris?

April 01, 2016

April Fools in Paris You know one of the best parts of visiting another country is learning new traditions and how they’re similar or different around the world. April fools in Paris is a little different and it is called, “Poisson d’ Avril” (The Fish of April).

On this day, school children adore sticking elaborately-colored fish on the backs of their classmates (and sometimes, parents), thinking up plots to do without being caught.
Once the “victim” realizes there is a fish taped to his or her back, the others cry out “Poisson d’ Avril” and everybody has a good laugh.

Just what is the origin of this fishy-Paris tradition? As with many French Easter traditions, it is based on the Christian calendar. April 1st was often the end of Lent, a period in which Christians gave up meat and had to substitute fish for their main protein, to offer a fake fish on April 1st was way of making fun of all the fish one was obligated to eat over the Lenten period and a way to make light of the serious nature of Lent.

If you are fond of browsing Paris flea markets and antique shows, be on the lookout for early 20th-century postcards that feature drawings of fish, these were also exchanged as gifts on April 1st, and are quite valuable finds today..

Watch out for those sneaky April Fools’ Day Fish…

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