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World Puppetry Day

We celebrate World Puppetry Day on March 21 every year. This day aims to recognize puppetry as a global art form. It is also an attempt to pay tribute to and honor puppeteers from around the world. The World Puppetry Day was established in 2003 by UNIMA.

World Puppetry Day

UNIMA-USA


HISTORY OF WORLD PUPPETRY DAY


Historians claim that puppets were born before theatre actors. Even before putting actual people on stage, these inanimate actors were doing a great job of entertaining a wide range of audiences from different parts of the world.

In India, the origin of puppetry was traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization in 2500 B.C. Archaeologists had found a terracotta doll with a detachable head capable of being manipulated by a string. Many Indian Classical texts like the “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” also mention puppets. China, Japan, and Taiwan also had their versions of puppetry.

In ancient Greece, old written records found in the works of Herodotus and Xenophon state that puppetry was in practice since the 5th century B.C. These Greek plays had puppetry shows performed in front of the common people and European puppetry was inspired by this. There is also archaeological evidence of puppets in Egypt in 2000 B.C. During this period, figures of wood operated by string by humans to demonstrate the actions such as kneading bread.

In the 16th century, the traditional British “Punch and Judy” puppetry originated from the Italian commedia dell’arte (an earlier theatre form). This show became very popular among the masses and was performed with various alterations till the 19th century.

In 1929, the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA), or International Puppetry Association, was established in Prague. This organization was made to spark a resurgence of puppetry and help puppeteers show off their art form and connect with other like-minded artists. UNIMA centers have since been created in several parts of the world.

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