Beware! April 1st is coming! In France, there is an old tradition: on this day, we joke, we laugh, and we play pranks! But where does this tradition come from? What is customary on this day? We tell you everything in this article!
April 1st: the origins
The tradition of this day of pranks, jokes and hoaxes is not recent. The calendar change under Charles IX, which made the first day of the year begin in January instead of March from 1564, is said to be the most widespread origin of April 1st as a day of jokes.
In France, until the 16th century, New Year's Day was not celebrated on 1 January, but for a whole week, until 1 April, to celebrate spring. People used to give presents to each other. King Charles IX put an end to this by setting the 1st of January. At the time, 1 April was also the end of the Lenten period, when people ate a lot of fish. When the king changed the date, not everyone got used to it and some continued to exchange gifts in April. According to legend, they were then mocked by others and the April 1st jokes were born!
In short - In 1564, King Charles IX decided that the year would no longer begin on 1 April but on 1 January. This change also shifted the exchange of gifts and presents to mark the new year. To sow doubt about the actual date of the New Year, some people persisted in giving presents in April. Over time, the April gifts turned into joke gifts, jokes, and then tricks to trick others.
But the origin of the fish associated with April 1st is disputed and several versions exist. The ban on fishing at the beginning of April in France could be the origin of the famous "fish hanging on the back". Indeed, during the period of reproduction of fish, fishermen were "offered" a dead herring hung on the back, which was later replaced by a paper fish. The most religious people see the April fool's day as a symbol of Lent, the Christian period when only fish may be eaten, while others claim that the fish comes from the zodiacal sign of the fish, the last of the winter, which was used as an illustration in cards sent on April 1st to symbolise the holiday at the beginning of the 20th century...
April 1st: the tradition of the April fool
French children make paper fish and try to hang them on their friends' backs without them noticing. Then the children shout "poisson d'avril" when their friends finally discover the fish on their backs.
On April 1st, the French play pranks on the people around them, jokes that are sometimes a bit "heavy". But beware!!! The media also play pranks on this day! However, their "hoaxes" are often much more elaborate. Be careful what you read in the newspapers, what you see on television or on the Internet. On 1 April, beware of everything!
This week's theme, "French humour", is also about the stars, and their sketches make the whole of France laugh.
Florence Foresti and Coluche are the favourite comedians of the French. But young and old French people are not always sensitive to the same style of humour. The 18-34 year olds are more fans of Gad Elmaleh, Jamel Debbouze or Kev Adams. Those aged 65 and over prefer Laurent Gerra and Anne Roumanoff.
Some French comedians to discover:
- Raymond Devos
- Guy Bedos
- Gad Elmaleh
- Florence Foresti
- Jamel Debouzze
- Muriel Robin
- Anne Roumanoff
- Claudia Tagbo
- Dany Boon
- Valérie Lemercier
- Gaspard Proust
- Elie Semoun
- Stéphane Guillon
But in Montpellier, the one we like best is of course the Montpellier native Rémi Gaillard! He is world famous thanks to his crazy videos on the Internet: https://www.nimportequi.com/fr