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!
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?
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!
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!