I was waiting at the airport to pick up a friend when I saw this stilt walker. With his colorful costume and height — he looked about 10 feet tall — he was impossible to miss in the crowd of people who, like me, had gathered at the arrival entrance of the airport.
I’ve seen this particular stilt walker, or someone else wearing a similar costume, in Montego Bay several times since then. They seem to be part of the entertainment for cruise ship passengers.
According to Wikipedia, stilt walking has been traced as far back to 6th century Greece. Stilt walkers have been seen in countries such as France, Spain, Mali and have been used in a variety of situations from farming and jousting. It’s hard to imagine walking on stilts much less walking and jousting, a 600 year old tradition in Namur, Belgium!
Stilts can be hand-held, strapped on, or made with springs that allow the stilt walker to run, jump, and perform other activities. Stilt walkers are popular forms of entertainment, especially at circuses and festivals.
While I don’t remember stilt walkers being part of Jamaica’s cultural history or repertoire, I do remember that at one time, houses, like the one I grew up in, were elevated. Having a house built off the ground allows air to circulate freely and keep it cool. It also helps to keep out insects and other unwanted pests, and protects the house if there is flooding.
July 27th is National Walk on Stilts Day, an unofficial holiday.
Sept. 16th – Linking up this week with Travel Photo Mondays, which Noel of Travel Photo Discovery organizes.