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April 1st is a day of trickery and shenanigans around the world, and Italy is no exception. In Italy, instead of an April Fool’s trick, you play a trick that makes someone the pesce d’aprile, or literally the fish of April. Sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it? That’s the idea! About.com’s section on the Italian language has a nice description of the typical April Fool’s prank in Italy:


The traditional pesce d’Aprile (April Fool’s trick) in Italy consists of a youngster surreptitiously attaching – with the help of tape of glue – a paper cutout of a pesciolino (small fish) to the rear shoulders of a school companion. Then everyone jokingly questions: L’hai visto? -Chi? -Il pesce d’Aprile! (or Have you seen? -Who? -The April Fool!) and makes derisive remarks about the victim.

These days the scherzi (jokes) tend to be a bit more elaborated, and planning recorded prank phone calls seems to be quite popular with young people I know here. So be prepared and watch your back today . . . Don’t become il pesce d’aprile!

3 Comments
  • Pyzahn

    What might constitute an Italian “derisive remark”?

    Something like “Your mother wears combat boots?” Or does the Italian vernacular have its own genre of insults?

    I’m thinking a lot of hand gestures.

    But I’m printing out your cute fish and I’m going to tape it to someone’s back. Since I’m Italian, I think I need to adopt the tradition.

    p.s. my word verification is “arigoodo” — that could be an Italian insult. Si?

    April 1, 2009
  • Lola

    Fun post, Laura thank you! Have you taped the fishtail on the fool today? I can’t wait to come to Sorrento for Easter, I *need* those lands. Buon pesce d’aprile!

    April 2, 2009
  • Laura

    Ciao Pyzahn! Your comments always make me smile. Thanks for sharing your great sense of humor! I am still learning the Italian derisive remarks, but they are often very colorful! Around the Naples area they are particularly colorful! And you are right, they nearly always come with a nice (or not so nice!) gesture. 🙂 Who did you stick the fish to? It sounds like a great tradition to adopt! I think you need to invent the appropriate gesture for arigoodo and you will be set! Hah!

    Ciao Lola! Thanks for your comment. Ah, no, I didn’t stick that cute clownfish to anyone. I was too busy packing, cleaning house and cutting the grass and getting ready to leave. I am in the States now for a couple of weeks visiting family. Always lovely to see family, but I do miss those lands when I am gone! I know you understand about the back and forth and the traveling. It is just a part of my life now! So sorry to miss meeting you when you will be so close over Easter. Next time I hope! Please do write and tell me all about Easter as I have yet to experience it there. 🙁 I have heard the procession in Amalfi is even more impressive than the Sant’Andrea procession. Maybe you can see it! Buon Pasqua Lola!

    April 3, 2009

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