Monday, April 1, 2013

Poisson D'Avril ... Easter Fish

Have you ever noticed that the french chocolatier's windows at Easter are filled with what may seem like unusual things?  Alongside chocolate bunnies and eggs, are flying bells ... and fish!  Bunnies and eggs are synonymous with Easter (Pâques) around the world, bells (explained here) are to be understood ... but fish?

It is really just by coincidence.

Chocolate fish start appearing in the stores around April 1st for April Fools Day which happens to fall in the calendar around Easter time.

Amid all the fun and trickery of April Fools Day, in France the tradition is that children play a trick on as many adults as possible by sticking paper fish onto their backs.  And as they run away they laugh and shout, "Poisson d'avril!" (April fish!)

The tradition is centuries old, and as as with so many french traditions, it centres around the understanding of the food that is eaten.  I am told it comes from playing a trick on an unknowing person - to send them to market for freshwater fish - when it was not in season.

So April fish are an Easter symbol in France purely by proximity ... hence you will find chocolate fish in the shops amongst all the other lovely chocolatey treats!

{image via}
Thinking of 'April Fools' - my all-time-favourite April Fool's trick is the BBC featuring a 'serious' story on the evening news in 1957 (here), about the bumper spaghetti crop in Italy ... with footage of a women picking spaghetti from a tree!

A large scale hoax on a serious news service in the '50s, where it would of been 'unheard of' to do such a thing - priceless!  No wonder the BBC actually received hundreds of calls from people enquiring where they could find spaghetti bushes!

In this year's round of  Fools tricks, I did love the photo of the first glass bottomed flight by Virgin, and I'm queuing to buy the first version of 'Google Nose beta'!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter break, and were spoilt with treats by friends or family.  Are you still working your way through your Easter goodies or were they all gone in one hit?



  1. The sign of a fish is also a very early christian sign.Hence the fish at Easter.lizzy

    1. I hadn't heard that connection, but it does make sense - thanks for that! J x


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