April Fish

Frankly I find fools a little scary (especially after they evolve from faithless to court jesters) and I’m not clever enough to pull off a tricky April Fool’s Day post, so I will just offer up some French fish for the day. For whatever reason—new calendar or perennial fish-hatching season–French-speaking parts of Europe (and Italy) have recognized the first of April as Le Poisson d’Avril for several centuries, and postcards past serve as cheerful evidence of this interesting cultural tradition. The recipient of an April Fool’s Day prank gets a paper fish pinned to his back, or a colorful card in the mail. And in the words of this first card, from 1906, if you receive it with a good heart, it will bring you luck. I’m craving lucklightheartedness, and color after March 2014, surely the longest and coldest month in the history of the world!

'If you receive it with a good heart, it will bring you luck', an April Fool's Day postcard, sent in 1906 (mixed media)

April Flower Fish card

April Fool's Day (coloured photo)

April Fish-001

April Fabric panel

April First Poisson cards from the first decade of the twentieth century and the Bridgeman Art Library; Fabric panel from Etsy seller Confectionique.


3 responses to “April Fish

  • himalayanbuddhistart

    Thank you for this lovely postcard and your note, it has brought back happy childhood memories. We used to cut a fish out of paper and put some sticky tape on one side to try and make it hold on to someone’s back (not pin it, it would have been painful for the receiver of the prank), and I have no idea why this “poisson d’avril”!
    In my great grandparents’s postcard collection, there is a card dating from the 1900s too, on which a woman hands a man his new born child, depicted like a fish, it isn’t nowhere near as nice in spirit as the card you’ve published!

  • daseger

    Of course, you’re right, pinning would be painful, and difficult I think! I quite like the image of the newly-delivered fish…..

  • markd60

    I would love to see somone’s old postcard collection.

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