Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day - Let's Wash the Lions

"Poisson d'avril!" and "pesce d'aprile! - in France, Italy, and French speaking Canada, kids and adults run around tacking paper fish to people's backs (without getting caught) & then shouting April Fools!  No one stuck any fish to my back today, but I did have a delicious meal, of "Cabillaud", which is le roi de la mer (King of the sea) in France and known as Cod in USA.  It is a fish that has been eaten in Europe since the Middle Ages. The fishing boats leave from La Rochelle and search the cold, salty North Atlantic waters where the schools of Cabillaud migrate. 
The dried Cod is called Morue and is often preserved & sold salted within an inch of its life. Once I made the mistake of purchasing the Morue, preparing it lovingly (without rinsing it)=  April Fools!  
In 1508, French poet Eloy d'Amerval referred to a poisson d'avril, literally "April Fish", and in 1539, a Flemish poet, Eduard de Dene, wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1st. Seems as though the French &  Flemish poets had quite a sense of humor!  One of the first British references appears in the 17th c., writings of John Aubrey, who called it "Fooles holy day" -- on April 1, 1698, on a not very holy fooles errand, several people were tricked into the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed".  

Seems satire & pranks are DOA in USA -- the news services and twitter tweeters heralded an item posted by Len Burman, an economics professor from Syracuse University, on claiming that Mitt Romney had ceded to Rick Santorum. "Kind of baffling," he said in a phone interview.  "It was April Fool's Day, and it was completely implausible..."  

All of this "foolishness" makes me think of one of my favorite Tarot cards:  "The Fool" 



1 comment:

  1. With this post I feel connected to France, past and present. Every bit helps maintain the friendship, because, I believe, the United States and France are, deeply if not always in the moment, friends.