Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The origin of April Fool's Day

Number Six just told me this yesterday--she learned it at French class--and here's Tintin telling the origin of April Fool's day to the world.
April 1 - 1er avril
Jokes, tall stories and all kinds of tomfoolery... April 1st is here!
April Fool's Day is an ancient tradition, named “le poisson d'avril” in French. But poisson means fish in French doesn't it? What are the origins of this name?
Passion = poisson: the word “poisson” is in fact a play on the word “passion”. It is a parody of the passion of Jesus Christ, who at the beginning of April was sent back and forth between Pontious Pilate, King Herod and others before the crucifixion. Over the centuries the word passion became poisson; the joke consisted of sending someone from one place to another.
Fishing: fish spawning season begins at the end of March and fishing was not allowed at this time: there were some practical jokers who sent victims to the fish market, only for them to come back empty-handed! It was also considered funny to give someone a fish at the end of Lent.
The start of the year: until the 16th century, the start of the year was actually on 1 April, corresponding with the “awakening of nature” during spring. King Charles IX of France decided that the year would begin on 1 January. Many people didn't realise or pay attention, and they continued to celebrate the New Year on 1 April! To make fun of these people, others gave them empty boxes and other fake gifts on 1 April

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