01 April 2009

Fish Day

I was talking to Zeltus's wife about the French customs for April Fools Day, and apparently over here it is known as Fish or Poisson Day. They still play jokes on each other, as do the English and other nations but over here in France they sell chocolate fish to give to each other as presents.

From what I know of the traditions behind April Fools Day or All Fools day is that in pre-Christian cultures May Day or May 1 was celebrated as the first day of summer, and signalled the start of the spring planting season; an April Fool was someone who did this prematurely.

Chaucer references April Fools' Day in the Canterbury Tales written c 1400 in the Nun's Priest's tale, a tale of two fools: Chanticleer and the fox, which took place on March 32nd as as we all know only 31 days in March so this would have been April 1st.

Our mother told me the story of the spaghetti tree harvest, reported on by the BBC in 1957, and tried to convince me it was true but I was having none of it. Good job too as this was a hoax, but had many people fooled at the time.


5 comments:

Elaine said...

When I visited France some years back, they used to try to pin, or stick paper fish to people's backs.

Janet said...

I'm going to try to promote that French custom. Chocolate fish sounds much nicer than telling someone there's a spider crawling up her back. Thank you for reminding me of my Chaucer!

Dark Side said...

You really are so interesting, I feel as if we sat in a room together we would never stop talking...xx

Asclepius said...

Did you fool anyone today? I didnt manage it myself. Being on nights I dont really get to see anyone until the day is nearly over and if memory serves you have to fool them before midday?.

Also nice Chaucer reference.

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