Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poisson d'avril !!! (April Fools' Day)

Today, it's April 1st, or April Fools' Day. Since it seems to be quite different from France, I will explain here how we celebrate this day in France.
What is April Fools'Day ?

April Fools'Day (or "le 1er avril" in french) is a celebration which takes place on April 1 every year. In France, this day is not a holiday but it has its own traditions and it's common to make pranks. April Fools' Day's pranks are represented by the fish called "Poisson d'avril" (April fish).

What happens for April Fools' Day ?

(I'm only talking about the French day here, because I don't know what is going on in the other countries.) When you're a kid, you make paper fishes and you stick them on people backs. Well...I say kids, but I still enjoy doing it !! 
It's also very common to make pranks. For example, my grand mother used to call me every April 1 and made up something which I always believed :-) But not only family and friends make pranks : like here, companies and newspapers also play the games. Sometimes, people actually believe pranks and everything gets very confused !!

Whatever you are planning for April 1, once the victim founds out about the prank, you should say "Poisson d'avril !!!!" (April fish !!)

The roots of April Fools' Day

According to Wikipedia, Fools' Day was already mentioned in Europe in the Middle Age. The holiday's roots would come from the previous New Year date. This one was changed from March 25 to January 1 and because some people, unaware of the change, continued to celebrate New Year on March 25, they would have been mocked. The fish had then been a fake gift to make fun of them. (and it would have been a fish because of the fast).

Later in the early 20th century, people used to send some postcards like the ones you can see below :

Nowadays April Fools' Day is hardly a commercial holiday and mainly consist in pranks and fish sticking. However some companies and administrations use this day to make some fun. Here are my favorites examples :

The things that have happily not be true !

  • 2008 (RTL) : Phone calls in french will be cut in Flandre

The things that would have been great for real !

  • 2009 (SNCF) : Homer Simpson's voice was used as the railroad voice
  • 2010 (Defense Minister) : Octopus will become part of the national army
  • 2011 (Jeuxvideo.com) : Video games will tested in the Baccalaureat (french SAT)
  • 2012 and 2013 (Google) : Creation of Google Maps 8bit (if only they had kept this version !) and then Maps Treasure

The things that were prank and became true !!
  • 1972 (health Minister) : Smoking will be banned from public areas
Pranks today !

As I like the Google spirit, I was really looking for their annual prank. Here some I heard of :

  • This one is not as good as the 8 bit maps, but is still fun ! 

The aim of the game is to collect 150 Pokemon around the world... And I did it !!!

Now, I'm waiting for this !!! ;-p

  • With a different mind : the new temperature control in Virgin planes :-)

  • Still with Google, you can translate your webpages to Emoji !!

  • You also have some new locations for Adsense or you can share use the shelfie theme :-)

Those were my favorites. If you discover some other good pranks, let me know !!!

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