Of fish and fools

Question : Comment dit-on « poisson d’avril » en anglais ? 

Answer: April fool’s day or April fools

April 1st is a day for pranks, hoaxes (des canulars) and jokes (des blagues). In Anglophone countries, it has been an unofficial holiday since the 19th century. No fish are involved.

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales makes the first written connection between this date and foolishness (la bêtise, la sottise, la folie), in the author he describes a rooster (un coq) being tickled (chatouillé) by a fox (un renard). Those were crazy times.

In the UK, the butt of the joke (la victime de la blague) is exposed by shouting “April fool!“. But it’s important to note that all joking must stop by noon. A person playing a joke after midday is the “April fool” themselves, also known as a noodle, gob, gobby or noddy.

Most importantly, you should note that anyone wearing blue on April fool’s day is entitled to be slapped by a child, which is why there are so many recorded assaults by children in early April.

That’s not true. Happy April Fools Day!



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