It’s International Walk on Stilts day!

BY JESICA SLABBERT - JULY 27, 2016

July 27th marks International Walk on Stilts day, a day where it’s okay to be taller than normal and balance on sticks. If you’ve ever been to a festival or circus, I’m sure you have seen one of the performers or clowns hovering over you on these stilts.

Stilts have a long history and are actually quite useful tools; their origins are thought to be from China during 722–481 BC. They were created by a man named Yan Ying in order to stop people from mocking him for being short.  After that, stilt walking had spread throughout the country and people started to use them for dances and festivals to celebrate big events.

Stilt-jousting has been a tradition for over 600 years in Namur, Belgium. Shepherds in France used stilts in the late 1800′s to ease traveling through the rough terrain and traversing marshes safely, as well as use them to watch their flocks from an elevated position.

While stilts have been out of use for these practical uses for many years, recently there has been resurgence in the drywall industry. It’s so commonly used, in fact, that a special design, and a name to match, has been put together for them. In Germany they are called Handwerkerstelzen or Drywall stilts.

If you’re ready for a new hobby that will take you to new heights, then try stilts! You can try to find them at a local supplier, or online for ready-made ones, you can even try looking online to find kits to make them. Try a shorter stilt to begin with, getting used to having longer legs can be quite challenging. As you get more and more proficient, start adding height to the stilts. Eventually you’ll be strolling along, looking at the world from a new point of view!