Monday, 16 April 2012

Poisson d'Avril - Watch your back!

So we celebrated April Fools Day this month but it got me thinking: What is April Fools? Why do we celebrate it? And thanks to google I discovered my answer easily enough: because dear Charles IX changed the start of the year to January 1st from April 1st.

In those days apparently it became tradition to give joke presents to people according to their jobs so a chef would be given a sieve without holes, a farmer would receive a access his fields etc

And in Scotland it became normal to send people to carry out irrational, impossible and completely ridiculous chores: "Go fetch the milk from the pigeons dear!"

At my house in England, April Fools Day can be dangerous! It triggers a booby trap war between my sisters and I resulting in such pranks as filling the sugar pot with salt... The worst surprise in the morning and equally the worst cup of tea of your life. Could be the reason why I no longer take sugar in my tea...Safelty first after all!

Anywho, last year for April Fools Day I was in France, au pairing. (Joy..) And I was quite disappointed as the kids I was looking after did not share in my delight in this holiday. So this year, working as an english teacher in and about Paris I still have alot of contact with children. But because of the way 'Poisson d'Avril' was forgotten about last year I let down my guard...

In France, they do 'April Fools' differently: instead of pulling practical jokes on people, the tradition is to stick paper fish to people's backs.

Me, I cycle to work everyday so whilst on the way home pedalling through the outskirts of Saint Denis like usual,  I am a little confused as to why each passing car sounds it's horn at me... I get paranoid and do the various self-conscience self and safety checks:

  • Skirt tucked into knickers?  NO
  • Riding on the right side of the road? (I'm English and somedays forget that it's the inverse to the UK)
  • Flat tyre? NO
  • Dropped bag? NO
  • Unknowingly ran over a pigeon? ...I don't think so!

At the next set of red lights a man in a van pulls up beside me and winds down his window with a sheepish grin on his face...He yells with great delight: "Madame! Vous avez un poisson sur votre dos!"

Me, completely oblivous reply: "Un quoi????!!!!"

The light turns green. Go! He accelerates past me shouting with rellish "Joyeux Poisson d'Avril!"

 'Poisson d'Avril'...Bien sur!

Lesson Learnt. 

1 comment:

  1. That's my girl! I quite like that way of celebrating April Fool's Day, I may borrow this idea! I LOVE your blog Haze!