I enjoy looking at a site called Days of the Year, which lists all the special and unusual holidays at home and around the world. It’s amazing what people celebrate. Today is International Town Criers’ Day – one of those things that is no longer necessary because of the internet. In its day, however, it was mandatory for those with loud booming voices to roam the towns and countryside to spread the news. Usually they carried bells and dressed in brightly colored clothing so they would be seen and heard. They were also called bell ringers – or today they might be referred to as ding a lings.
In those days, there were many people who were illiterate. The printing press had not yet been invented. Still enquiring minds wanted to know what was happening in their kingdom and this was the best way to do it. Those who “cried” had to have endurance to make it through the entire countryside.
I imagine by the time they got home, there would be more news to spread and they wouldn’t have a chance for rest. Maybe there was a whole crew of town criers, especially during a heavy news week. Kind of like the Pony Express, they would have tag teams to get the word out. Fake news may have gotten its start, because like in the game, “telephone tag,” the message gets garbled along the way. Who knows what the last guy in town heard by the time he got the word?
It amazes me how far we have come in communication over just my own lifetime. We now have connections with the entire world. We hear news immediately when it happens. Yet even in the dispensing of it, we often wind up with the wrong message. I guess some things will remain the same until there’s nothing else to talk about.