To mark the passing days of Lent, we made this string of forty fishes. The fish-- a symbol of Christ and a reminder of Lenten abstinence-- seemed the perfect shape. There are forty, one for each day of Lent, which is itself symbolic of Christ's own time of preparation and also the years the Israelites spent wandering in the desert. We chose to make them in the appropriate liturgical color, purple, to show that our efforts are united to those of the whole Church. The shimmery quality of their skin is both decorative and symbolic of our desire to "reflect" Christ.
Each of these fish has a letter P, F, or A on its back for prayer, fasting, or almsgiving. Each day, when we draw a fish off the string, we take note of the letter and make it the focus of our day. For example, if we draw a fish with an A on its back, we make almsgiving the focus of our Lenten observance for that particular day. The children might do chores around the house for payment that they then put into our rice bowl.
After the fish has been drawn, it is placed in the basket below. We pray by the basket that Lord will multiply our fishes (our efforts) for the greater good of all.
The boys have really taken to this activity. Even before breakfast in the morning, a fish has been drawn, is in the basket, and everyone is yapping about the day's focus. I suppose it is early on, but the enthusiasm is quite promising.
N. B: Oh, and the title of this post is what Nicholas calls them.