Bonnes Paques

April 10, 2007 at 12:28 pm | Posted in books, food, vie quotidienne | 9 Comments

“And who brings the chocolate?” the teacher asked.

I knew the word, so I raised my hand, saying, “The rabbit of Easter. He bring the chocolate.”

“A rabbit?” The teacher, assuming I’d used the wrong word, positioned her index fingers on hop of her head, wriggling them as though they were ears. “You mean a rabbit rabbit?”

“Well, sure,” I said. “He come in the night when one sleep on a bed. With a hand he have a basket and food.”

The teacher sadly shook her head, as if this explained everything that was wrong with my country. “No, no,” she said. “Here in France the chocolate is brought by the big bell that flies in from Rome.” I called for a time-out. “But how do the bell know where you live?” “Well,” she said, “how does a rabbit?”

It was a decent point, but at least a rabbit has eyes. That’s a start. Rabbits move from place to place, while most bells can only go back and forth–and they can’t even do that on their own power.

David Sedaris has been accused recently of exaggerating some of his stories for comic effect (horrors!), but I can assure anyone who questioned this story from Me Talk Pretty One Day that, yes, Easter chocolate is indeed bestowed in France by a giant bell.

Easter bell

But of course, that’s not the whole story. Mr. Sedaris failed to mention the Easter fish:

Easter fish

I did some research, but from what I can tell, no one is exactly sure why fish turn up on Easter in France. Some suggest it might have something to do with Lent, but isn’t the whole point of Easter that Lent is over and you can stop with the fish already? Others say the fish are left over from April Fool’s, but there isn’t any clear explanation what fish have to do with April 1st either. Is it something to do with Pisces? With the Gregorian calendar? With procuring prostitutes? I can’t tell.

What I can see, however, is that French fish apparently lay eggs from a large orifice near the gills.


Happy Easter!



  1. The fish is great! I esp. love the jellybeans? in the gill cavity. Nice touch.

    As E always says, He is risen!

  2. They aren’t quite jellybeans… Actually they were hard candies that released some kind of sugary liquid when you bit into them.

  3. does it have anything to do with the jesus fish?

  4. Lauren – Yeah, that’s one of the theories. But no one really likes it because it doesn’t explain the “trick” aspect of April Fools.

  5. Pour compléter tes recherches sur le poisson d’avril voici ceci (qui étaye ma théorie personnelle), je l’ai trouvé sur le site de “l’internaute” :

    A l’origine était Charles IX
    Si l’origine du poisson d’avril est controversée, l’hypothèse la plus courante le fait naître au 16ème siècle. En 1564, le roi Charles IX a décidé que l’année ne commencerait plus le 1er avril mais le 1er janvier. Un changement a également décalé les échanges de cadeaux et d’étrennes qui marquaient le passage à la nouvelle année. Pour semer le doute au sujet de la date réelle du nouvel an, certains ont persisté à offrir des présents en avril. Avec le temps, les petits cadeaux d’avril se sont transformés en cadeaux pour rire, en blagues, puis en stratagèmes pour piéger les autres.

    Pourquoi le choix du “poisson”
    Si les farces sont désormais connues sous le nom de “poisson d’avril”, cela remonte là encore à ce cher 16ème siècle. Les cadeaux que l’on s’offrait en avril étaient souvent alimentaires. Cette date étant à la fin du carême, période durant laquelle la consommation de viande est interdite chez les chrétiens, le poisson était le présent le plus fréquent. Lorsque les blagues se développèrent, l’un des pièges les plus courants était l’offrande de faux poissons.

  6. yes, there is nothing like getting yelled at by the french over who brings what at easter. of course, the bells… yes. . . seriously, that’s even worse than a rabbit.

    honestly, one of the more random things i had ever encountered during my french immersion program in france a couple months ago…

  7. I’m with you. A bell makes no sense. A rabbit is mobile, not to mention cute. And a chocolate fish? eeeeuw. not appealing whatsoever.

  8. Do you guys really think that either the bell or the rabbit carrying chocolate eggs around makes any sense? What do any of them have to do with Jesus’ death anyway? And does christianism not condamn the use of images to represent God or Jesus (like the fish)?

  9. Yes, I think chocolate egg-laying rabbits make perfect sense. It’s those idiot bells I have a problem with.

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