April Fools’ Fishies!

For the French, April 1st signifies le poisson d’avril (or, April’s Fish). While the history of the April 1st/joke connection remains a bit shifty, the most widely accepted source finds itself anchored in 16th-century France, when King Charles IX adopted a new calendar. This calendar, called the Gregorian Calendar (after Pope Gregory XIII, who commanded it), shifted the start of the new year from April 1st to January 1st. Some traditionalists, however, refused to acknowledge and accept the new date; still others simply remained oblivious to the change. Whatever the reason, those who remained loyal to April 1st New Year were soon deemed “April Fools” and were mocked and tricked by their peers.

Similar obscurity surrounds the origin of the April 1st/poisson connection. Some have theorized that the fish relate to the sun’s departure from the zodiac sign of Pisces. Others make perhaps the more obvious connection: fish are easily baited and fooled into being caught. Fish, the symbol of les fous/fools. (My apologies to you fish-lovers out there. Don’t hate the messenger, please.)

The evolution of le poisson d’avril finds little French children taping paper fish to the backs of adults and lightheartedly yelling, “Poisson d’avril!” once said adult discovers the fishy. Likewise, adults play pranks and, whenever the prank’s truth is discovered, the prankster will yell, “Poisson d’avril!“. It’s all fun and games until someone throws a chocolate fish at your head.


In any case, April 1st in France is a sight to be seen… particularly in the Chocolatiers, where various incarnations of chocolate fish shroud the windows. It’s INCREDIBLE. I’ve never seen anything like it. But since I’m not in France right now, I thought I’d share some images that I found online… chocolate-related and not. Enjoy, and happy April Fools’!

carte-poisson-avril(Above: found HERE)


(Above: from Chocolatier Patrick Roger)


(Above: “Happy Fishing!” found HERE)


(Above: found on Flickr)


(Above: found HERE)


(Above: found HERE)


(Above: “Eaten!” found HERE)

carte1eravril2(Above: found HERE)

One response to “April Fools’ Fishies!

  1. Oooohhh… chocolate fish….mmmmm

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