When is Poisson d’avril, and what should we do about it?

Europe has festivals and traditions, lots of them. Many of these play a significant part in the lives of people across France, Germany and Spain.

We’ve developed a series of books for KS2 pupils about the major festivals and traditions that can be used to develop discussions on cultural similarities and differences, and can be used as a basis for language teaching.

But that’s only the start.  The books also include background information with key vocabulary and teaching activities for each event.  The activities range from making cards and writing poems, to playing games and cooking traditional recipes.

We have found that focusing on festivals and traditions is an ideal way to get children interested, engaged and motivated about different cultures, as well as learning key vocabulary.

Let’s take for instance Poisson d’avril.

On this day in the UK we play practical jokes on each other, but only in the morning! Yes, it is April Fool’s Day. In France, on the 1st of April, children stick paper fish to the backs of other people for a joke. When the fish is discovered, they shout ‘Poisson d’avril!’ (April fish). They also play practical jokes, as we do in the United Kingdom.

Did you know that some believe that April Fool’s Day originated in France? April 1st was the beginning of the new year according to the pre-Gregorian calendar. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced, the new year’s celebrations changed to January 1st. Those people who resisted the date change and still celebrated on the first of April were known as ‘Poisson d’avril’ and people would play practical jokes on them. Just one of the interesting facts found in our books.

Providing ideas for every month of the year, our resources contain analysis grids that show where and how the Intercultural Strand of the Framework for Modern Languages is covered, both by objective and year group.

As a result of using these resources, by the end of Year 6 the children should be able to demonstrate understanding of and respect for cultural diversity and also present information about an aspect of another country.

What’s more, the resources also contain detailed plans for holding your own 'Spanish/German/French Day' so you can bring together everything the children have learnt over the past year.

For more information and free resource pages follow the links below;

For KS2: French Festivals and Traditions / Spanish Festivals and Traditions / German Festivals and Traditions

For KS3: French Festivals and Traditions / Spanish Festivals and Traditions / German Festivals and Traditions