Pesce d'Aprile: Italian April Fools' Day

Tue, 03/24/2009 - 07:25
Words by Michelle Fabio

For Italians, the first of April marks the celebration of "Pesce d'Aprile" (April Fish), and antics are very similar to those we know for April Fools' Day. Practical jokes and hoaxes are common across the country on 1 April, but why is there a fish in the name of the Italian day?

According to, apparently the traditional prank for Pesce d'Aprile involved the taping of a cutout of a small fish (pesciolino) to someone's back. Then the exchange would go:

L'hai visto? (Have you seen him?)
Chi? (Who?)
Il pesce d'Aprile! (The April fish/fool!)

Obviously the person with the pesciolino taped to his back was the fool. Poverino!

The origins of April Fools' Day across the world are disputed, but many believe it dates back to when the Georgian calendar was adopted and many resisted the change; the term may have been used to refer to someone who still stood by the old Julian calendar. Another theory is that those who planted crops before May 1, the traditional first day of Summer, was an April foo.

Whatever its origins, the day is still widely celebrated across the world in surprisingly similar ways. Here are some Pesce d'Aprile jokes that some Italians were kind enough to film and put up on YouTube: Do you have any Pesce d'Aprile jokes planned? Don't worry--we won't let the fish out of the bag!