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Walk On Stilts Day – July 27, 2023

Walk on Stilts Day is celebrated on July 27 every year, and we’re going to celebrate it by putting our stilts’ walking skills to the test. Can you imagine that stilts walking went as far back as sixth-century ancient Greece? Stilts are a set of poles with foot straps used to elevate the wearer above the ground when walking. Stilts make the wearer taller than usual and are convenient for walking over muddy or unstable ground. Stilt walking is widely associated with the circus, where performers juggle and joust on stilts to the crowd’s delight. Stilts are also a common sight at parades, festivals, and functions.

History of Walk On Stilts Day

Stilts come in different types, including handheld, peg, spring, drywall or dura, digitigrade, and articulated. According to archaeological discoveries, stilt walking goes as far back as the sixth century B.C. in ancient Greece. The Greeks used the word ‘κωλοβαθριστής (kōlobathristēs)’ for a ‘stilt walker.’ Before the 15th century, people in Namur, Belgium, have been using stilts for practical purposes, including working in muddy areas and, funnily enough, jousting. However, in 1411, the count of Namur banned the use of stilts and fighting on stilts.

Stilt walking also has a long tradition in France, where shepherds of the Landes region employ stilts to watch over their flocks, and the people used them to walk on the soggy ground and transport themselves quickly. In the 19th century, the shepherds began abandoning walking on stilts as the marshes of Landres dried up. However, the French aristocrats picked up the practice and started using it as fashion. In the first half of the 20th century, stilt marathons were held in Paris to celebrate the French agricultural tradition.

Today, stilts are employed in various areas of life. Performers use stilts at fairs, parades, festivals, and parties for comic and entertainment purposes. Stilt walking and dancing are a common sight at local festivals in Anguiano (Spain), Deventer (Netherlands), and Namur (Belgium). Fruit farmers in California use aluminum stilts to prune and harvest peach, plum, and apricot trees. They are also employed to wash large windows, repair roofs, drywall construction, hang suspended ceiling tiles, and install or paint high ceilings.

Walk On Stilts Day timeline

6th Century B.C.
Stilt Walking in Antiquity

Ancient Grecians employ stilts for transportation and agricultural purposes.

1411
A Ban on Stilt Walking

The count of Namur bans the use of stilts and fighting on stilts.

17th century
A Bird's Eye View

Shepherds of the Landes region of France employ stilts to watch over their flocks.

20th century
Stilt Marathons

The French celebrate the French agricultural tradition in Paris with stilt marathons.

Walk On Stilts Day FAQs

How do you walk on tall stilts?

To walk on tall stilts, you need to gather the necessary materials first. That includes a ladder, stilts, two foam pieces, Velcro straps, tennis shoes, and old sheet cut into strips. You will also need a friend to serve as a spotter and help you put on the stilts. Find a step-by-step guide on how to put these materials together on YouTube.

Is it hard to walk on stilts?

Walking on stilts is a challenging feat to accomplish, as it requires balance and solid hand-foot coordination. It takes regular practice to master walking on stilts.

What are the tallest stilts in the world?

According to Guinness World Records, the tallest stilts ever walked measures 16.41 m (53 ft 10 in) from ground to ankle.

Walk On Stilts Day Activities

  1. Stilt walk

    The most enjoyable way to commemorate Walk on Stilts Day is to go stilt walking. If you are good at stilts walking, you can do all your movement using stilts on Walk on Stilts Day; either it's to work, around your neighborhood, or to the park. Aside from having lots of fun, you will be giving a rare sight to people who see you.

  2. Learn how to walk on stilts

    If you have no idea how to stilt — walk. This is the ideal day to acquire this new talent. First and foremost, you must go shopping for stilts. You don't want to overdo it the first time, so check your local department stores or online stores for reasonable-sized stilts. Then use online tutorials to learn how to walk on stilts. Video tutorials are recommended because they are easier to follow and comprehend.

  3. Watch the London Marathon on stilts

    The London Marathon is an annual racing event that includes different marathons, including a stilts marathon. Check when the next one is happening and prepare yourself to see how the pros do it. If it's not happening this year, you can stream previous editions, including the one where the record for the fastest marathon on stilts was broken.

5 Interesting Facts About Stilts

  1. The Moko Jumbies

    A group of stilt walkers in Brooklyn, U.S., wear oversized zoot suits or extravagant tapestry-like robes and walk around on stilts, reaching up to 17 feet.

  2. Stilts are versatile

    Stilts have practical uses in different fields, including art, construction, agriculture, and transportation.

  3. The stilt walking royal entourages

    When Empress Josephine visited the Landes region of France, she was escorted by stilt walking entourages that kept pace with her carriage horses.

  4. Stilt racing

    There is a part of the London Marathon that is for stilt racing.

  5. Fastest marathon on stilts

    Michelle Frost holds the record for the fastest marathon on stilts at six hours and 30 minutes.

Why We Love Walk On Stilts Day

  1. Stilt walking is fun

    Have you ever been on the roof of a tall building or a mountain's peak? Do you remember the feeling of euphoria and freedom you got from it? The same applies to stilt walking. Also, you can do other fun activities while on the stilts, like dancing and juggling.

  2. It builds confidence and coordination

    Stilt walking is like riding a bicycle. To become a pro, you need to ensure proper hand-foot coordination and balance. Once you get how to stilt walk, you experience a boost in confidence with a can-do attitude. Stilt walking regularly will also improve your motor skills.

  3. Stilts have many purposes

    Aside from fun activities, stilts are used for pruning and harvesting, drywall construction, painting, and cleaning. See what else you can come up with this holiday!

Walk On Stilts Day dates

YearDateDay
2023July 27Thursday
2024July 27Saturday
2025July 27Sunday
2026July 27Monday
2027July 27Tuesday

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