International Town Criers Day
Most people know town criers as those individuals that are often seen at Renaissance fairs and historical reenactments that are shaking a bell and screaming “Hear Ye! Hear Ye!” However, few people really realize the role that town criers actually played in their communities or the history of this profession.
Fortunately, there’s a holiday that attempts to teach people about this profession so that they can celebrate it. What’s the name of this fabled holiday? Well, it’s International Town Criers Day and it’s observed annually on the second Monday of each year. So, let’s take a few moments to explore this ancient profession and the holiday that celebrates it.
The History Of International Town Criers Day
The profession of town criers goes all the way back to ancient Rome and Greece. These individuals were heralds who made public announcements for politicians and other officials. This job continued into the Middle Ages in Europe and was most commonly employed by local lords or other nobles to keep the people informed about the news and events of the day.
Up until and through the Renaissance Period, town criers were respected members of the community. They often wore elaborate clothing and carried maces or staffs as a symbol of authority. They also would carry bells or drums that they could play to gather crowds of people to them so they could make their announcements.
Some typical announcements that were made by town criers included announcements of a new monarch, a declaration of war, or a change in taxes. They were also used to announce public events such as weddings, fairs, and markets.
As newspapers, telegrams, and other forms of communication became common, the role of town criers ended up declining. However, that doesn’t mean that they’ve gone extinct. At least, not yet. Some communities and events still employ town criers to relay important information. Which is probably why International Town Criers Day was invented.
International Town Criers Day was invented in 1994, possibly by the Honourable Guild of Town Criers in England. Of course, while it may have started out as a British holiday, it has since been observed in other parts of the world. Currently, this holiday is observed in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
Observing International Town Criers Day
Obviously, the celebration of town criers is one of the main things that people are going to want to do on this day. If people don’t know any town criers, then they can always take the time to thank some random ones on the Internet using the hashtag #InternationalTownCriersDay.
This holiday is also a good day to learn more about the history of town criers, or even roleplay as one for the day.