Happy April Fools’ Day! Are you eating chocolate fish today? Did your local newspaper publish a few nonsense articles this morning? Have you put a paper fish on someone’s back? If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, you may be living in French-speaking Switzerland (or France, for that matter).
In Suisse romande, April Fools’ Day is known as Poisson d’avril (April Fish). There are many theories for why this name developed, but the tradition of playing practical jokes on friends and family remains the same, as in other parts of the world. Long ago, people would apparently give fake fish as gifts on this day as a joke. Today, the tradition continues with beautiful chocolate fish displayed in store windows.
Similar to giving fake fish, another unique tradition here and in France involves people secretly affixing paper fish to people’s backs. Whoever wears the paper fish is the Poisson d’avril. I’ve been talking about this tradition with my 6-year old, so I’m expecting a surprise paper fish from him at some point today.
To make sure a certain 2-year old can participate in Poisson d’avril, I bought a silicone mold with small springtime shapes, including a few little fish amongst the bunnies and Easter eggs. I melted some Divvies chocolate and added some grated coconut, poured it into the molds, and voila! Delicious little chocolate fish that our family can share together.