April Fools Day
This year: Saturday, April 01, 2017
Mark Twain used to say: "April 1 is the day when we suddenly remember who all people around us are 364 24/7".
From the times of Medieval Europe there were multiple fairs and festivals in France in March and April. These festivals were dedicated to the coming of spring. And April Fool's Day was one of French most favourite and popular. This day had a lot of funny traditions. Fools and buffoons were making people laugh. They elected "foolish" bishops, kings and town-dwellers from common people and made jokes at them. This tradition survived as April 1 - the day of tricks and jokes.
Do not be surprised if walking around the city streets in France, you will meet people with a fish on the back. This fish can be made of paper, plastic, ceramics, and many other materials. Its main purpose is to play a kind trick on a person.
Here is how the "fish-joke" is made. You take a figure of fish and attach a small hook to it. If you have no ready-made figure of fish, you may draw it on a piece of paper and cut out. Then you talk to your friend on some serious (for example, job-related) topic, thus distracting his attention. While talking, you try to cling the hook of your fish on his back imperceptibly. If you are lucky, the fish will be hanging on the back of your "innocent victim" and amuse people around. Imagine a person hurrying on his business without any slight idea that thanks to their relatives or friends they have become an "April fish".
The holiday was born in XVI century in France. At that time people celebrated New Year on April 1. But in 1562 Pope of Rome Gregory XIII introduced a new calendar for the whole Christian world - Gregorian calendar. According to it, New Year shifted to January 1. As usual, there were people who had no idea about this new introduction, or simply did not want to change their way of life. They just went on celebrating New Year on April 1. Every one played tricks on such people, calling them "April fish" (as at this time of the year the sun is in the star sign of Pisces) or "April fools".