World Puppetry Day
Every year on March 21st, World Puppetry Day seeks to recognize puppetry as a global art form. It’s also a day to honor puppeteers around the world.
You are probably familiar with puppets. If you’re like most people, you have probably seen a puppeteer in action. You may have even played with a puppet yourself. You may be surprised to discover, however, just how old the art of puppetry is. Puppets date all the way back to the 5th century BCE. China, India, and other places in Asia even had puppet theaters. Native Americans also used puppet-like figures in certain rituals.
In 1929, the Union Internationale de la Marionnette – International Puppetry Association (UNIMA) was created in Prague. In the United States, puppeteers kept their art a secret. It wasn’t until the first half of the 20th century that puppeteers began sharing more information about their work. They also began holding public puppet shows. This was largely thanks to Tony Sarg, a famous puppeteer at that time. When puppets became public, it led to the founding of the Puppeteers of American in 1937. In 1966, Jim Henson founded UNIMA-USA. UNIMA Australia, UMIMA Pakistan, British UNIMA, and UNIMA-France followed suit.
Today, puppets are everywhere. Not just in the United States, but around the world. Puppets can be seen on stage, on television, and in the movies.
Some of the most famous puppets include:
- Punch and Judy
- Howdy Doody
- Lamb Chop
- Kermit the Frog
- Daniel Striped Tiger
Can you think of a famous puppet that you grew up watching on television or saw in the movies?
World Puppetry Day History
A puppet theater artist, Javad Zolfaghari from Iran, came up with the idea for World Puppetry Day. He proposed a discussion for the day in the year 2000 during the UNIMA World Congress. In 2002 UNIMA declared March 21st as World Puppetry Day. The first official World Puppetry Day was held on March 21st, 2003.