French Origins of April Fools Day*
Although the origins of April Fools is obscure and debated, the most widely accepted explanation actually credits the “holiday” as starting in France. The most popular theory about the origin of April Fool’s Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century.
The theory goes like this: In 1564 King Charles XIV of France reformed the calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. However, in a time without trains, a reliable post system or the internet, news often traveled slow and the uneducated, lower class people in rural France were the last to hear of and accept the new calendar. Those who failed to keep up with the change or who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born.
enough with that… here’s one of my favourite places.
off camera to my right and down the slope there’s a gorgeous wee stream with plenty of lovely little brown trout surrounded by all sorts of flowers and bees, caddis, ticks (ughhh) and at least two local roe deer.
behind me there’s la Montagne Noire, a quick 15min. drive from home and escape from civilisation with a lot more of the same but everywhere’s a little bit different, just enough to make each area worth visiting over and over again over the different seasons.
straight ahead across the valley, a more ‘serious’ mountain range, the Pyrenees, the natural border that separates France from Spain. the other playground, the one that would take several lifetimes to discover without seeing all of it.