♓ Poisson d’Avril – April Fish

01 Apr


Ah, the memories.   I grew up as a French Canadian, so it only makes sense that the particular “joke” I was subjected to would be from France.

April 1 was first called Poisson D’Avril by a French poet in 1509. The term poisson d’Avril actually meant April fish, and was meant to refer to a person who had been duped by an April fools prank: they were often marked by a tag shaped like a fish which was placed on the backs of people who had been fooled.

Then, of course, there is the change over from one calendar to the next. In the late 1500s, most of Europe changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. This calendar reform caused much confusion.  Years passed before the new calendar system completely took hold. Someone who failed to note the switch was branded an April Fool, given that they were likely still celebrating the old new year holiday, held just after the time of the vernal equinox in late March. The new calendar moved the new year to January 1, but for years there was a small group of people who mistakenly celebrated on April 1.

The Flemish tradition is for children to lock out their parents or teachers, only letting them in if they promise to bring treats the same evening or the next day.

There’s also an early mention that on April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to attend an “Annual ceremony of washing the lions.”

Washing Of The Lions

Washing Of The Lions

There have been many pranks through the years.  A few notable ones are:

In 2008, Canadian airline WestJet announced it would be converting overhead compartments on its planes into sleeper cabins.

In 1979, Frank Jones, a reporter for the Toronto Star, wrote that radiation leaking into Lake Ontario was causing prehistoric creatures to crawl up out of the lake and on to the shores of Ward’s Island.

In 2003, Dunlop Tires (Canada) announced the availability of a new product: personalized tire treads.

I could go on for a few more thousand words!  Instead, allow me to direct you to a few notable sites you can visit:

For the history of April Fool’s Day, I suggest Life 123, answers at the speed of light  and  Wikipedia. For a really fun read, visit the Museum of Hoaxes; another fun read is at Network World – 10 funniest April Fools’ pranks.

Related articles

Happy April Fools” Day to all of you!


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14 responses to “♓ Poisson d’Avril – April Fish

  1. antoguida

    April 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    really interesting! now I am going to bed but tomorrow I will explore the links you put about the 1st of April 🙂

    • tkmorin

      April 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      I hope you enjoy them!! 🙂

  2. hermitsdoor

    April 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Hey, if you are French Candian, why do you blog in English? Of course, if I tried to write in French, I would be the fool! 😉

    • tkmorin

      April 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      I may be bilingual, but my French grammar is so bad! Still, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a post in both language on the same post.
      Thanks for visiting! Hope you’ll return 🙂

      • hermitsdoor

        April 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm

        Aufwetersien…. oops wrong language and badly spelled 😉

  3. barbtaub

    April 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks for the fish! (And thanks for stopping by my blog.)

    • tkmorin

      April 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      And right back at you! Hope you have a good day! 🙂

  4. seeker

    April 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    HaHa…. thanks for all those links. The April Fish joke actually has one in the YouTube. Really funny. Pass the fish over here, TK. 😆

    • tkmorin

      April 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, my friend! 🙂

  5. L. Marie

    April 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Ha ha! The quote made me giggle. Love that Flemish traditions for April 1. Wish I’d thought of that when I was a kid.

    • tkmorin

      April 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

      I was hoping the lighthearted post would make someone smile! 🙂

  6. lissajuliana

    April 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Since I stopped taking French classes a very long time ago, I’d forgotten about the “poisson d’avril.” Thanks for the reminder!

    • tkmorin

      April 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Heehee … You’re welcome! 🙂


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