Put a fish on it: April Fool’s Day, Italy

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Although April Fools Day might seem like an American phenomenon, it is celebrated in different ways in different countries. A few European countries, including Italy, celebrate April 1st as “April’s fish.”

Today, April’s Fish – Pesce d’Aprile is Italian for April Fools’ Day – is essentially the exact same thing. People play jokes on each other and pull pranks. This is the essence of April Fools Day.

Pesce D’Aprile’s most popular prank involves attaching a cutout or paper drawing of a fish to the victim. Everyone then asks each other if they have seen April’s fish. Of course, the victim isn’t aware that they are talking about. Even though it may seem a little old-fashioned, Italian children still tap a fish onto the back of someone.

There are historical references to April Fools Day dating back to the 14th century. It is believed that it was first popularized in Genoa by wealthy people in late 19th-century Italy. Some pranks, which were not limited to putting a fish on someone’s head, were far more sophisticated and widely spread, intended to trick larger sections of the population into believing certain things. You should always have fun with it, and not harm anyone.

Some stories of historical Pesce d’Aprile hoaxes are told in Italy by newspapers that publish details of fake events in order to attract large crowds. You can also find sweet 19th-century postcards from Italy and France that depict the Pesce d’Aprile, as well as images of a fish and Poisson d’Avril, in French.

You should generally be skeptical about what you see or read on April 1st at home and in Italy. However, this article is 100% true. Don’t you believe me?

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One Response to “Put A Fish on It: April Fool’s Day, Italy”

  • Sylvia May says:

    It is possible that it is a American tradition. It is mentioned in the UK in Chaucer’s time (again, in the 14th century). However, I love the idea that people can affix paper fishes to their backs. I have enough to make a few more for next year.