July 27, 2021: Recollections from your time at a Circus will always carry the memory of those long-legged people that caught your eye from great distances on the field! To the child’s eyes they appear giants and probably aliens but adults know the secret. The fancy dressed up men and women walking way above the ground level are actually stepping on a pair of stilts. This July 27, as we celebrate Walk on Stilts Day 2021, it’s the perfect time to expand your knowledge on these amazing, extraordinary extensions that have grabbed your attention and made you look in wonder, about a thousand times in life!
Walk on Stilts Day 2021
As the rustic usually spot them in peculiar places, there’s a preconceived notion that stilts are the mainstay of theatrical performers, clowns, jugglers, the oddly elongated students from annual parades of colleges.
It is sure to raise some eyebrows that stilts have been an indispensable part of many cultures, handed down a long and august history, interestingly for various purposes from ceremonial to purely practical.
What is a stilt?
A stilt is referred to a ‘pillar, post, or pole employed to assist a person or structure in standing above the ground’. Walking stilts also go by, “poles equipped with steps for the feet to stand on, and straps to attach them to the legs, for the purpose of walking while elevated above a normal height.”
To the regular folk, people on stilts serve only in the entertainment business, but what’s behind the veil is their extensive usage in several industries from shepherding to construction. Stilts in many cases, are essential equipment in the construction of a building as part of the permanent structure. Ever wondered, what would happen to a house on a beach at the time of flood or maybe a regular high tide day?
Or perhaps on a ground, notorious for its high-water content and susceptible to floods? Just like in life, you ought to raise yourself above all that stress and when it comes to structures, stilts rock!
The special purpose of employing stilts for mobility, owing to Archaeological ruins, was practiced in Ancient Greece as far back as the 6th century BC. In the Landes region of France, shepherds would use them to watch their flocks from an elevated position, while those who lived in town often used them to traverse the sodden earth in their normal activities.
It kept them away and aloof safely from the rough terrain of bushes, brush and pools of water and marshes, traversing which, was their job specifics.
With the decrease in the practical usage of stilts for many years, recently there has been a resurgence in those industries where there is a need to work at a height further above ground than the worker can reach, and consistently enough where moving a ladder is at best inconvenient. Stilts are in vogue especially in the drywall industry and so commonly used are these, that as a matter of fact a special design, and a name to match, has been put together for them.
In Germany they are called Handwerkerstelzen or Drywall stilts. Today, stilts are also used for washing large windows, repairing roofs, painting high walls and ceilings alongside their use in drywall companies. Stilt-jousting has been a tradition for over 600 years in Namur, Belgium.
Also Read: Norfolk Day 2021: Bring home the exotic charm of the dreamland Norfolk, exploring its rich history
How to celebrate the Walk on Stilts Day 2021?
Born with a spirit of adventure? What better day than Walk on Stilts Day 2021 to join the august ranks of people who have used the stilts for work and play throughout history.
Your craze to reach new and path-breaking heights of rush, quite literally, will be satiated so fantastically when you try out stilts! You can find them at a local supplier, or look online for readymade ones.
And if you think, you got the crafty hands, what’s hindering you from buying kits online, to make them yourself? Like you learnt walking by crawling first, take baby steps here as well! When you start out walking on stilts, try a shorter stilt to begin with, as all your life you’ve been on what, about 2.5 to 3 feet high above the ground on your regular legs! So, getting used to having longer legs can be quite the challenge. As you get more and more proficient, start adding height to the stilts! Within some time, you’ll be looking at things from a whole higher perspective! Be careful and take long strides, from a place which seems so much closer to the dreamy clouds!