01 April 2008

Pesce d'aprile!

April Fool! Here it’s “April Fish!” and it’s a day for making jokes and playing pranks on the gullible, just like in the U.S.

Sweet shop windows are full of pretty chocolate fish, from teeny-weeny to two feet long. But no two Venetians have given me the same explanation for the significance of the symbol, although in true Venetian fashion, they are all absolutely certain it must be something that had its origin here in Venice. After all, “Venice is a fish!” (Look at a map – you’ll see what it means.)

The joke’s on them! I learned this one years ago in Paris where they use the same image for this holiday, and the explanation is utterly consistent: in springtime the waters are crowded with young, hungry fish that will bite at anything, even false bait, so it’s easy to catch one. Get it?

As for the chocolate fish… I’ll bite!