International Top Spinning Day – October 13, 2021

International Top Spinning Day occurs every second Wednesday of October (falling on October 13 this year) to the delight of lovers of spinning tops around the world. Did you know, this event was initiated by a museum in Burlington, Wisconsin?

History of International Top Spinning Day

A spinning top is a toy with a squat body and a sharp bottom that is designed to be spun on its vertical axis. The International Top Spinning Day celebration is about this toy. The day is celebrated by all lovers of spinning tops around the world who, on this day, joyfully participate in and enjoy spinning tops in quirky and unusual environments around them. Tops can come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but they all have the characteristic of being able to defy gravity in exactly the same way as explained by the gyroscopic effect that uses inertia, gravity, momentum, and centrifugal force.

In 2003, when the Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum in Burlington, Wisconsin, created International Top Spinning Day, its director, Judith Schultz, likened the rotation of the toy when spun to the earth spinning around its axis. According to her, “The earth spins around a single axis, just as the toys spinning tops and yo-yo’s do.”

International Top Spinning Day is also meant to recognize and celebrate the scientific fact behind how tops defy gravity. According to researchers’ findings, spinning tops have existed for millennia, with the oldest ever found dating back to the 35th century B.C., or around 6,000 years ago. Historically, tops appear to have originated from different parts of the world but they all have the characteristic of being set in motion by pulling a string or cord that is attached to their axis or, rotated by holding its tail — usually the narrower part of its whole body — between your longest finger and thumb, and spin.

International Top Spinning Day timeline

35th Century B.C.
The First Spinning Top is Created

The first spinning top, according to reports, is made around this time — the spinning top is the oldest toy in human history, and the oldest one ever found dates to this period.

2005
A South African Spins 261 times

In a letter sent to the Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum in Burlington, Wisconsin, a South African lover of spinning tops named Tony says he spun 261 times, representing approximately 3,600,000 revolutions, to celebrate the day in 2005.

2013
The Big Magazine Feature

International Top Spinning Day gets its major news publication appearance in the national monthly magazine "Family Fun Magazine," in 2013.

2013
184 Students Participate in Top-Spinning

A total number of 184 students and staff participate in the 2013 celebration of the International Top Spinning Day, at Hillside Elementary School, Livingston, New Jersey, representing an important landmark.

International Top Spinning Day FAQs

What is top spinning called?

The generic name for what is a turban shell is ‘turbo,’ which, in Latin, means ‘spinning top.’

Can a top spin forever?

There is a modern spinning top item named ‘ForeverSpin,’ which is made with titanium. But the name speaks of its durability, not its ability to spin forever. It’s on Amazon, selling for $56. 

Are spinning tops plastic?

Tops can be made from different materials like metal, plastic, and even wood. So yes, some spinning tops are made out of plastic. 

How To Celebrate International Top Spinning Day

  1. Spin tops

    Seriously! How else would you witness the joy that watching a top spin brings? To spin a top, hold its tail (usually the narrower part of its body) between your longest finger and thumb, and spin.

  2. Read about its history

    Learn more about the spinning top’s history online or at the Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum of Burlington in Wisconsin.

  3. Talk about it on the internet

    Share funny and quirky stories about your experience spinning tops, or share others’ experiences! Make posts about the event using the hashtag #TopSpinningDay.

5 Important Facts About Top Spinning

  1. Tops can spin for over 50 minutes

    Yes, this is not an exaggeration — spinning tops can spin for over 50 minutes!

  2. There’re at least four different kinds of tops

    There’s the Jewish Dreidels; Japanese Koma; Gasing, found in Malaysia and Indonesia; the Trompo that’s popular in Latin America; and Kreisels, found in Germany

  3. It was initiated by a museum in Burlington

    International Top Spinning Day is an initiative of the Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum in Burlington, Wisconsin.

  4. The world is a spinning top

    The director, Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum, Burlington, Wisconsin, Judith Schultz, likens a spinning top to the earth spinning around its axis.

  5. Tops have existed for millennia

    Spinning tops have existed for many millennia according to records.

Why We Love International Top Spinning Day

  1. Top spinning brings us joy

    When tops rotate just as the earth does (but on a single spot), it brings smiles to faces.

  2. It generates buzz for the Spinning-Top & Yo-Yo Museum

    International Top Spinning Day was perhaps also initiated to generate coverage for the Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum of Burlington, in Wisconsin.

  3. It’s fun!

    Seriously! Spinning tops with friends, family, and lovers of the toy is fun.

International Top Spinning Day dates

YearDateDay
2022October 12Wednesday
2023October 11Wednesday
2024October 9Wednesday
2025October 8Wednesday
2026October 14Wednesday

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