World Juggling Day on June 19 celebrates juggling as an art form. Juggling requires discipline, dedication, and lots of practice. This entertaining act can be done with several items ranging from balls and bowling pins to bottles and knives — the possibilities are endless. People can get into juggling at any age as the only prerequisite for this skill is passion. Juggling is an old form of entertainment. There’s evidence in paintings on ancient Egyptian tombs where ladies can be seen juggling multiple items. Circuses also had special juggling segments in their shows as juggling was considered to be a special skill that only a few could master. However, with the advent of TV and the internet, the art form’s popularity has grown significantly.
History of World Juggling Day
World Juggling Day was first honored in 1995 by the International Juggling Association (IJA). The day is celebrated on the Saturday that is the closest to June 17. IJA was officially established in 1947 by a few juggling artists. The nonprofit association aimed to recognize the art worldwide, and allow for mutual friendship to blossom between groups of artists, and by extension, the ones who appreciated the art itself. In the beginning, there were less than 100 members in IJA, but as the years progressed, the number of members increased with the official number being in the thousands today. Since its inception in 1947, the organization holds a week-long convention worldwide for jugglers and other circus art performers.
Initially, World Juggling Day was commemorated as National Juggling Day. However, seeing the worldwide appeal of the art, IJA made it more international by renaming it World Juggling Day. The beginning of juggling is uncertain due to a lack of historical documentation, but many scholars believe that juggling dates back to 2000 B.C. Records depict juggling on paintings in an ancient Egyptian tomb called the Beni Hasan cemetery complex. In China during the time of King Zhuang of Chu, who reigned between 613 — 591 B.C., a warrior by the name Xiong Yiliao lived. Yiliao was a skilled practitioner of ‘nòngwán.’ the art of tossing multiple objects in the air without dropping them. He displayed nòngwán in front of an army of 500 soldiers who had come to wage war against the Chu kingdom. It is believed that after seeing the rare art, all 500 soldiers fled fearing the involvement of magic and myth. There are also mentions of juggling in ancient Greece and Rome where jugglers, poets, and other artists indulged in juggling to entertain the crowd and earn a living. Jugglers of both sexes traveled wide and far to develop their skills and careers in juggling. Evidence for it can also be found on vases, coins, paintings, and buildings.
World Juggling Day timeline
Lanzi, a juggler who lived during the Duke Yuan of Song’s period, is awarded gold, silk, and a position at court for juggling with seven swords whilst walking and running.
Tagatus Ursus, a Roman, claims on his gravestone to be the first person in the world to juggle with glass balls.
The Indian Mughal emperor, Zahir ud-Din Babur, records in his diary about the troop of jugglers who can juggle seven rings on their thighs, toes, fingers, hands, and forehead.
The popularity of variety shows increases the demand for professional jugglers, who have to come up with new and innovative juggling tricks and techniques to keep the masses hooked.
World Juggling Day FAQs
What is the world record for juggling?
The longest duration of juggling was achieved by David Slick who juggled three items for 12 hours and 5 minutes, at North Richland Hills Public Library, Texas, U.S.A., on July 22, 2009.
Who is the world's best juggler?
Anthony Gatto is considered by many to be the world’s greatest juggler.
What is the name of the official publication of the International Jugglers Association that focuses on North American jugglers?
“Juggle” is the official publication of the IJA and focuses on the North American scene.
How To Celebrate World Juggling Day
Try some juggling
You’ve been juggling with a ton of things on your platter, but now you should try your hands at juggling for real. You can start simply by looking up beginner juggling techniques. With practice, you can add a feather to your hat for this amazing skill.
Learning juggling is quite the task since it involves a lot of time, energy, and dedication. This entertaining art form, therefore, should be appreciated for its complex technicalities that people take months and years to master.
Celebrate with friends and family
Who doesn’t love to have some downtime with loved ones? Take this day as the chance to get together with everyone to learn juggling for the fun of it.
5 Facts About Circus That Will Blow Your Mind
Whistles and peanuts for bad luck
Circus performers avoid whistling and/or eating peanuts backstage as they consider it bad luck.
Circo Atayde is the oldest running circus
The “Circo Atayde” is the oldest running circus in the world with its first show held in 1888 at Plaza de Toros, Mexico.
Circus’ Roman origins
The word ‘circus’ comes from the Latin word for circle, which was used to refer to Roman amphitheaters that hosted chariot races, gladiatorial battles, and other types of sports.
Tent circus for better viewing
J. Purdy Brown, a circus entrepreneur, was the first person to shift a circus into a tent called the ‘Big Top’ for a better viewing experience for the audiences.
Butcher selling popcorn and toys
If you are familiar with circus lingo, you will know that a vendor selling items like popcorn or toys is called a ‘butcher’.
Why We Love World Juggling Day
It’s a celebration of juggling
Juggling requires utmost concentration and passion. While many jugglers toss balls or bowling pins or other similar paraphernalia, many others also juggle with knives, swords, fire, and other dangerous items. This art form deserves celebrations for its various techniques that have entertained the world for thousands of years.
It’s a celebration of entertainment
Entertainment has countless genres all over the world. Entertainment also teaches us various lessons, and with juggling, the repetitive movements teach us the value of what can be achieved through sheer willpower.
It’s a celebration of dedication
With the spread of technology and globalization, we are being bombarded with many overwhelming things. During such an onslaught, our dedication to our craft should not waver. Juggling, like many other skills and professions, teaches the value of dedication and never giving up in the face of failures.
World Juggling Day dates