April Fools Around the World
Strange, but true? True and False facts about your favourite holiday destinations.
Malta Strawberry Festival?
Tourists on Malta holidays regularly attend a festival that celebrates the humble strawberry. The square in Mgarr, Gozo is filled with the fruit and the more adventurous visitors try strawberry risotto, strawberry soup and strawberry ravioli. From the miniature to the obscenely large, there are punnets of strawberries, strawberry jams, strawberry smoothies, strawberry wines and strawberry salads. Strawberries are one of Malta’s biggest agricultural products and this festival celebrates their harvest and the arrival of the summer months.
One of the main attractions of Barcelona holidays is the chance to see the works of the famed Antoni Gaudi. But what you may not know is how his artistic life came to an abrupt end. It’s claimed that on a sunny June day in 1926, the unfortunate Gaudi was taking his daily stroll when, while crossing the street, he was knocked down by a tram. Due to his rather dishevelled appearance, Gaudi’s unconscious body was assumed to be a beggar. When he was eventually identified, it was too late for medical treatment and he died three days after the accident. One of Gaudi’s most famous works, the unfinished Sagrada Familia, is set to be completed on the centenary of his death.
Giant Sardine Ritual in the Canaries?
During ‘Carnival’, it’s rumoured that the residents of Tenerife and Lanzarote undertake a peculiar burial ritual. After the processions of dancing clowns, musical groups and carnival queens, the islanders head down to the bays and harbours to celebrate the end of the festival. Here, they will ‘bury’ an enormous handmade sardine, usually by way of setting it alight and pushing it out to sea. Certainly an interesting event to see on holidays to Tenerife, the ritual represents getting rid of excesses and starting afresh.
Is the Red Sea that mouldy?
Now a world-famous dive spot, anyone on beach holidays to Egypt will tell you that the water there is as bright a blue as you can imagine. So where does the Red Sea gets its name from? It’s claimed the name doesn’t come from anything sinister, but that the Red Sea takes its name from a particular breed of algae that forms on its surface every few years. Trichodesmium erythraeum blooms invisible, but once this algae dies it turns the waters of the Red Sea a reddish-brown or pink, hence the name the Red Sea.
Darth Vader in Prague?
Prague has such a huge number of science fictions fans that the city has erected a statue of Darth Vader from the Star Wars films. The life size monument can be seen on city breaks to Prague just before you reach the Jewish Quarter. Hoards of Star Wars fans flock to the city each year to take a photo of the bronze tribute and re-enact popular scenes from the films.
Catching Ducks in Majorca?
The town of C’an Picafort in Majorca holds an annual event on 15th August called the Releasing of the Ducks. This ritual attracts over 3,000 visitors every year and it involves 350 ducks being put into the sea by a fishing boat, for locals to catch as they wade into the water. The origins of the event are unknown, but residents of C’an Picafort have been doing this for over 80 years, always in the same spot along the seafront. It’s common knowledge that Majorcans love their fiestas, but is anyone really barmy enough to run into the sea to chase some ducks?
Goat Poo Shampoo from Marrakech?
Women in Marrakech have a peculiar beauty secret that has been causing a bit of a stink. Oil produced from goat’s droppings has been used by Moroccan women for years to eliminate dry skin and keep hair silky and soft, and now it’s making its way to the British high street. Goats can often be seen climbing the Argan trees and snacking on its fruit. The undigested kernels that are found in their droppings are then collected by the Berber tribes and used to create the oil. So next time someone brings you some Argan oil back from their Marrakech holiday, will you be checking the ingredients?
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Answer: Although there is a statue in Prague that looks a lot like Darth Vader, it’s actually of a Golem, and no science fictions fans covet it! The rest of the stories are in fact true! And don’t worry, although the ducks in Majorca used to be real, since 2007 they’ve only used plastic ducks.