Every Sunday, this blog will explore France, based on our family's virtual explorations in 2011
April 1st is a day of jokes and pranks in many places, including in France. Along with fake stories in the media, everyone loves to play "Poissons d'Avril" (April's Fish). It's simple, silly fun. Children (and the young at heart) tape paper fish to someone's else's back, and wait and see how long it takes for them to notice. When the person notices the fish, the culprit shouts out "Poissons d'Avril!".
But why fish?
Well, no one's certain. A few theories are floating around about that:
- It's typically during the season Lent, when many religions have the custom of abstaining from meat and eating fish instead. Historically, a gift of food was common, and therefore of fish during that period. Gifts of fake fish were used as pranks.
- The sun leaves the Zodiac sign of Pisces (the fish) in April.
- Fish aren't the brightest and are easy to catch.
Here are a few sites that offer a free printable of fish that kids can cut out and tape to someone's back. It's funny how such a little thing can bring on the giggles!
The first three sites offer fish that kids can color themselves - top row, left to right:
- Four sweet fish from Briconounou
- Five bold black and white fish from Parents Momes
- Six cute fish of different sizes from Moulin Roty
The next three sites have colored fish you can print and cut (and maybe try something a little different)- bottom row, left to right:
- Here's a page from De Fil en Sardine with four colorful fish anyone can help themselves to - would be funny to put in the kitchen and see what the kids do with it!
- Papier, Ciseaux, Cailloux offers seven quirky, colorful fish.
- Madame Citron has a really fun printable that includes a matchbox fish bowl and moving "poissons d'Avril" using clothespins.