Tuesday, 31 March 2009

This month's guest blogger: Gay Smith.Happy April Fools Day !

First of all thanks go to Tricia for such interesting posts through March. You have whetted my appetite.
For those who may not know I live in England, in the Thames Valley, to the west of London. I should really go to Paris more often, especially now we can do the whole journey by train in just a couple of hours.

Happy Poisson d’Avril or April Fish!

I believe we mentioned this custom in a Quimper Club update last year but just in case you have forgotten : Until the 16th century, France celebrated the New Year as we do today, but they celebrated on April 1st. Pope Gregory changed the calendar to it’s current form in 1562. Hence forth the New Year began on January 1st. Many people either didn't know or ignored the new calendar, and they kept celebrating on April 1st. Other people called them April fools and played tricks on them.

In France children delight in making paper fish and sticking them to people’s backs - when the victim discovers the jest the cry ‘Poisson d’Avril’ goes out!
In the UK we are only allowed to play tricks up until mid day or the joke is on the perpetrator. One notable exception to this was the year that a very serious BBC current affairs program filmed a piece showing the cultivation of spaghetti in Switzerland – on bushes!!!!
Do enjoy the joke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyUvNnmFtgI in the more innocent 50’s many people ‘fell’ for this and remained convinced it was true years afterward……..

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