Poisson d’avril

You may have noticed that my blog was off-line for the past couple of weeks. During this time, I recorded a soon-to-be hit single and did a photo shoot as the new face of Dior. Really.

poisson avrilReally? If you believed this utter nonsense even for a second, you are a “poisson d’avril,” (pwasohn davreel), literally an “April fish,” or the victim of an April Fools’ Day prank.

Like so many wonderful things, this day of silliness also has its origins in France. The first recorded reference to practical jokes on April 1 dates to 1609. One possible suggestion for the celebration of pranks is that in the sixteenth century, the calendar switched from having the New Year and spring coincide to a nice, tidy, uniform fresh start on January 1. Those silly provincial hold-outs who resisted the new ways were referred to as Poisson d’avril and made the butt of practical jokes. Why fish? It’s possibly because of the zodiac sign for Pisces that falls during this time, but that’s purely conjecture.

chocolat_paques1_diapo_mainToday in France, there are two primary ways to enter into the fun. One is to stick the paper cutout of a fish onto the backs of unsuspecting people. Kids love to try to paper their teachers. The other way is more my thing – food. Many bakeries and chocolate shops produce fish shaped goodies to celebrate the day. The injunction to eat more sea-food has never been so appealing.

Another way to celebrate Poisson d’avril would be to discover a new group. I recommend Rupa and the April Fishes. This California-based group records in French, English, and Spanish. Check out “La pêcheuse” (The Fisherwoman)  or “Une Américaine à Paris.”  Rupa Marya, the front-woman, was born in California to Indian parents and raised in California, France, and India. When not singing and playing the guitar, she’s also a physician. And that’s no joke.

Extraordinary Rendition

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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