Poisson d’Avril  oubyen Pwason d’Avril (kreol)

Happy April Fools Day! 

Here in Haiti they call it Poisson (pwason) d’Avril, in the French
tradition.  My family (the kids, at least) always really got into
the spirit of the day, with such tricks as changing the cereal in all
the boxes, setting the clocks ahead, turning the calendar up-side-down
and the such.  I have tried such shenanigans here at the clinic
but not with much results.  Here, the thing to do is to tell
people that someone needs to see them.  So, they dutifully go to
the person, who, of course, has no idea why they are standing at their
door.  With April 1st falling on a Saturday, my opportunities were
a bit limited and Felix doesn’t see the humor or the point of it. 
I was able to send my friend, Wener, off looking for the head
nurse.  He, in turn, sent one of the other workers to come look
for me.  A bit after that, one of the new nurses was sent to me
and was very sheepish when I cried, “Poisson d’Avril”.

So, if I say that we are on the move list and will soon be taking up
our post in Lagos, Nigeria…..just remember to look at the calendar
first! 

Here’s a brief history of the day that I found on the Web:

In sixteenth-century France, the start of the new year was
observed on April first. It was celebrated in much the same way
as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of
the night. Then in 1562, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar
for the Christian world, and the new year fell on January first.
There were some people, however, who hadn’t heard or didn’t
believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate
New Year’s Day on April first. Others played tricks on them and
called them “April fools.” They sent them on a
“fool’s errand” or tried to make them believe that
something false was true. In France today, April first is called
“Poisson d’Avril.” French children fool their friends
by taping a paper fish to their friends’ backs. When the
“young fool” discovers this trick, the prankster yells
“Poisson d’Avril!” (April Fish!)

Today Americans play small tricks on friends and strangers
alike on the first of April. One common trick on April Fool’s
Day, or All Fool’s Day, is pointing down to a friend’s shoe and
saying, “Your shoelace is untied.” Teachers in the
nineteenth century used to say to pupils, “Look! A flock of
geese!” and point up. School children might tell a classmate
that school has been canceled. Whatever the trick, if the
innocent victim falls for the joke the prankster yells,
“April Fool! “

The “fools’ errands” we play on people are practical
jokes. Putting salt in the sugar bowl for the next person is not
a nice trick to play on a stranger. College students set their
clocks an hour behind, so their roommates show up to the wrong
class – or not at all. Some practical jokes are kept up the whole
day before the victim realizes what day it is. Most April Fool
jokes are in good fun and not meant to harm anyone. The most
clever April Fool joke is the one where everyone laughs,
especially the person upon whom the joke is played.

“The first of April is the day we remember what
we are the other 364 days of the year. “
– American humorist Mark Twain
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One response to “

  1. That is really interesting informaion about April Fools day.  Thank you for sharing.  One of my teens told me about an April fools joke that a teacher played on her class one day.  She came into the classroom and started yelling at the students, and then walked out and shut the door behind her.  All the students were puzzled about why she was angry, then she came back in and said April Fools.  I thought that was pretty funny, so I thought I would share it with you. 
    Today at our Soldiers Rally in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, we celebrated The Salvation Army around the world, and took up a world services offering.  It was a really beautiful time of celebration and prayer for the officers and soldiers and christians around the world.  Just thought I would let you know, since you are serving in Haiti.  I really enjoy and am blessed by your posts!
    GOD BLESS YOU!

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