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<< Si une femme est mal habillée, on remarque sa robe, mais si elle est impeccablement vêtue, c'est elle que l'on remarque. >> 
- Coco Chanel

Bienvenue dans le Point Culture !
Want to know more about the Francophone culture in Canada and around the world?
Flaunt your Frenchness is here to celebrate all that is French - whether it's the language, fashion, wine and cheese, that special "joie de vivre".

Today let's talk about... French traditions in April!

C'est parti !

The French tradition of "Poisson d'avril" - April fools!

For centuries, April 1 has been a day marked by hoaxes and practical jokes played on people around the world. From large pranks to small practical jokes played on friends and family members at home, April 1 has long been a day when people try to fool and are fooled by others.

France is no exception to this world-wide tradition, and in fact many people think April Fools’ Day originated in France.

Although the origins of April Fools is obscure and debated, the most popular theory 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.

Today in France, a common prank (especially among school-aged children) is to place a paper fish on the back of an unsuspecting person. The longer the paper fish remains undiscovered by the victim, the better the prank is!

But why did people chose a fish as a prank for April Fools' Day?

While it is not clear of the origins of fish being associated with April 1, many think the correlation is related to zodiac sign of Pisces (a fish), which falls near April. If you are looking for an easy way to prank your friends or family, doodling or cutting out a paper fish and sticking it on the back of an unsuspecting victim is an easy (though admittedly juvenile) way of commemorating the origins of April Fools’ Day.

While the Poisson d’Avril is very popular among children, adults and companies love to prank their families or audience too! Grown ups like to make jokes as well, announce fake info : it’s very common that jokes are also made by the media, radio, TV etc…

Follow this link to see what the RATP (the company managing the Paris Subway) did in 2017: they made puns with Paris métro station names! They glued some stickers around the names on the stations themselves.

Want to know more about the French tradition of Poisson d'avril? Follow this link and this link!  

The humorist Paul Taylor explains La Bise, a very French tradition!

Time to laugh! Pause humour !

Did you know...

...French, the 5th World Language

French is not only spoken in France, Québec and Belgium. Could you name other French-speaking countries? Most people would get France and perhaps a few countries in Africa and in the Caribbean, but French is an incredibly popular language spoken in over 53 countries. It is spoken by 118 million people as a native language, and by about 274 million people globally (as a second or third language)

Le saviez-vous ?

... and 3rd World Language for Business. 
After English and Chinese, French is the 3rd language for business. French is also the official language for teaching and scientific research in several African countries. Studies show that French would become the most worldwide spoken language by 2050, due to the increasing population of the African continent. French, alongside English, is the only language spoken on all continents (as an official language). 

Source: France Diplomatie, 2017. 


With humor and tenderness, author and story-teller Wanda Jemly and director Frederique Remy take us on a discovery of the life of women in Cameroon, from birth to death, taking a look at health, education, family and work-related issues. 

The film will be followed by a debate with a panel of specialists and professionals to discuss the challenges faced by women from all cultures and all walks of life. 

Come talk about woman condition on Friday, April 27th with us at this free conference at Association francophone de SurreyMore info on this link
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