April Fools Day is known around the world as a day to pull practical jokes on friends and family. It happens on the first day of April every year. In France, April Fools Day is traditionally known as April Fish Day because children would hand draw fish and tape them to adults’ backs before exclaiming “Poisson d’Avril” or “April Fish!” However, there is not a set record as to when April Fools Day began. The most popular belief is that it began in the late 1500s when France changed to the Gregorian calendar. Before this, the end of the year and the beginning of a new year would be celebrated from March 25th to April 1st. It is believed that those that still celebrated the old calendar were called fools due to the fact that they refused to change to the new calendar. Somehow, April Fools Day evolved from a day to make fun of those that wouldn’t change to a day to pull harmless jokes on one another.
Celebrating April Fools Day in France
One common tradition for April Fools Day is for children to create fish out of paper and tape them to adults’ backs while laughing and calling them “April Fish.” It has become more common in recent years to pull other pranks on friends and family, such as setting their alarm to go off earlier than it was supposed to or taping their shoes to the floor with double-sided tape.
Tips for Traveling to France on April Fools Day
If you are travelling on April Fools Day, don’t be alarmed if you feel something tap your back and hear a cry of “Poisson d’Avril” or “April Fish!” It is most likely a child just looking for a harmless laugh. If you plan to pull any pranks or practical jokes, make sure they are harmless and won’t cause damage to a person’s property.