With April Fool’s just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look back at a blog written by Francesca back in 2016, looking at various customs, and how they differ in other countries. Please note that the Atlas office will be closed on Friday 30th March and Monday 2nd April for the Easter break. We’ll be open as usual from the 3rd. Happy Easter!
In many countries (such as the UK) the 1st of April is also known as April Fool’s Day. In other countries, like France and Italy the 1st April is known as April’s Fish. A bit strange, I know and it seems very hard to find where the fish tradition comes from. Historians just don’t seem to know and if you read up on it, you’ll come across many different explanations of origins and legends. The main account which seems the most plausible says that April fool’s started when the calendar changed from the Julian to the Gregorian and people got confused and kept celebrating New Year’s in April and not on the 1st January, but I am still none the wiser why we call it April’s Fish…
In Italy we are obsessed with the idea of the fish and we use it in a lot of our sayings. One of my favourite expressions translates literally as “throwing fish in someone’s face”. This is meant in a nice way, and not in the ‘Mafia’ way as they were keener on people sleeping with the fishes. I always wondered where they got the famous expression used in the Godfather, as funnily enough we don’t use this expression in Italy (but we have plenty more where fish are involved). Then again, ‘sleeping with the fishes’ could be a more common saying within some less respectful families!
I prefer eating the fish really, sometimes swimming with them, unless they are big barracudas and then absolutely not, as they have teeth – big teeth! Fish shouldn’t have teeth, but neither should they be as cute as Nemo or I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy my fish supper! I like my fish a happy medium of ugliness.
The moral of all this is, is that if you happen to travel to Italy and you don’t speak the language very well, be mindful when they talk to you about fish. Are they saying you are going to eat the fish, swim with the fish, or will you be sleeping with them…it could be a matter of life and death!
Happy April Fool’s, April’s Fish