Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy Fish of April Day!

For someone who has a hard time remembering people's birthdays and sending a Father's Day card before the actual event, being a mother in France has brought a whole new set of holidays and traditions I'm bound to forget. Thank God I have a 5-year old to keep me on track. She looks at me like 'do try to keep up, maman!'.

Apparently today is Poisson d'avril, or April Fool's Day, where the adults are made fools of by children making paper fish and sticking them on the back of unsuspecting adults. Surely this is a better tradition than blatantly lying to everyone about everything in the name of April Fool....

Here are some other French holidays and traditions I'm trying to keep up with:

Epiphany- where the French make Galettes du Roi, with a treasure inside and a crown on top, and whoever finds the treasure gets to wear the crown as the king or queen of the day.

La Chandeleur- Or crèpe day. God forbid I forget to feed my kids crèpes on this day. That's just so not done here....

Pacques- This is Easter Sunday, but not as I know it. No little Easter bunny hiding eggs, no, here apparently Flying bells do the hiding, and not an egg dye set to be found at the supermarket.

La Petite Souris- That's the tooth fairy to you and me. And fortunately for French parents it's a little cheaper, as the custom is normally to leave a toy. I'm still trying to work out how to get that ironing board she's been asking for under her pillow.....

Pere Noel- This one isn't too hard to remember, but apparently it's shoes, not stockings, that must be placed by the chimney. The other thing I like in France is that there is also a 'Pere Fouettard', who traditionally delivers spankings to any of those children who've been naughty, not nice.

Halloween- I'm still a little confused by this one in France. It is starting to be quite commercial, with pumpkins on sale for jack o lanterns, and special Halloween candy for trick or treaters. In the 8 years we've been here, I think we've only had trick or treaters maybe 3 of those years, and for two of those I was caught out without any candy. There is still a little bit of resistance to the holiday, being seen as a commerical American holiday instead of a traditional French one. And I'm still not sure how to translate 'trick or treat'.

I'm sure after awhile these things will become instilled in me, like yams for Thanksgiving, fireworks for 4th of July, and marshmallow bunnies for Easter. At least most of the main holidays are celebrated on the same day as in the States. Although I have convinced my dad that Father's day is a different date here (it's not)just to cover up for the fact that I always forget to send the card until the last minute.

1 comment:

poppy fields said...

Having kids is the best way to be kept up to date on all the "important" holidays.

ps: nice to meet you :)