Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pesce d'aprile

Today is April 1st, or Pesce d'aprile in Italy- April Fish (as it is also called in France). As for our April Fool's day, it is a day for practical jokes (scherzi- SKAIR-zee). Beloved of children is the ever-popular placement of a fish picture on someone's back, so that they walk around with people snickering at them all day.

The origins of this practice, as in so many cases, are shrouded in mystery. I've read that the fish in the name comes from the fact that the Pisces sign (the fish) gives way to Aries around this time of year, but I don't find this convincing. It seems more likely to me that the reputation of fish as not shining for intelligence has more to do with it. Just take a look at the dumb expression on the specimen in the picture.