Bingo! Blame Pope Gregory for porkies
Did you get taken for a ride last Saturday? Were you tricked into believing something was true that wasn’t?
If so then you were an April Fools’ Day victim.
It’s the day of the year when you can’t be sure that any story in a newspaper, online or on the television or radio is actually true.
So what’s the origin of April Fools’ Day?
Well the truth is (and this is the real truth) no one really knows.
According to one theory, Pope Gregory XIII is to blame, or thank, depending on your outlook.
He adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1582, which moved our year from March to January 1.
Despite this switch being widely promoted, some people missed it and when they celebrated the new year on April 1 they were seen as foolish and the date became known as Fools’ Day.
A second theory is that April Fools’ Day is left over from the idea of renewal festivals, which marked the end of winter and the start of spring.
One of the oldest of these was the Roman festival Hilaria, which coincided with the spring equinox, and invited Romans to take part in games, pranks and masquerades.
Those who took part in the festival would wear disguises, play tricks on people and generally wreak havoc.
Another suggestion is that on April 1 in 1789, King George III of England made a joke after the French deposed King Louis XVI. The French king pretended to step down as a result of which peasants took to the streets and celebrated their new freedom but were then arrested and imprisoned.
And there were several attempts to persuade the KE to get involved in April 1 pranks.
We did with one, reporting in last week’s paper how visitors to Wye Farmers’ Market were able to try something a little different last Saturday (April 1) by sampling a new type of cheese produced by Wye Community Farm (WCF).
The farmers’ market claimed WCF had spotted a gap in the market and developed a cheese made from pigs’ milk, called Porkies.
But everyone was telling ‘porkies’ as the new cheese was a hoax.
As was the press release we received from Mecca Bingo saying they had created a new game specifically for pets to play at the club in Ashford High Street.
They claimed the launch was in response to requests from customers who do not want to be parted from their pets when they play bingo.
The suggestion was that Mecca Pets, as it was called, would allow pets to play bingo alongside their owners both in club and online.
Larger pet-friendly bingo cards and tablets would allow dogs to make paw prints as their number was called out. This too was a hoax.
And finally, there was yet another animal story sent to us for publication on April 1.
Port Lympne Animal Reserve near Hythe announced that they would be attempting to teach Ambam, their most intelligent gorilla, to become a train conductor on a dedicated Port Lympne train to and from London St Pancras.
Ambam became an online sensation a couple of years ago when footage emerged of him walking upright like a human as he celebrated his 24th birthday.
And in his new railway role, Port Lympne said visitors would soon be able to travel on the train to Port Lympne, conducted by Ambam, who was going to be taught to check tickets and signal to the driver when the train could leave the station.
Ambam was due to complete his training and begin his first journey with excited passengers in May 2017. But it will not happen, as this too was a hoax.
We were telling porkies about pig cheese, Mecca Bingo in Ashford High Street DIDN’T hold special pet bingo sessions on April 1 and Ambam, Port Lympne’s famous gorilla DIDN’T become a guard on the high speed trains