Many people find clowns to be scary and a thing of nightmares. Yet they are used for a feature of entertainment in parades, carnivals and circuses. You can even hire one to entertain your kids at birthday parties.
The art of clowning has existed for thousands of years. A pygmy clown performed as a jester in the court of Pharaoh, during Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty about 2500 B.C. and Court jesters have performed in China since 1818 B.C. Throughout history most cultures have had clowns. As a matter of fact most Native American tribes had some type of clown character which played an important role in the social and religious life of the tribe, and in some cases were believed to be able to cure certain diseases.
Clowns have gone by many names around the world throughout history including: Auguste, Bobo (Spain c. 1500’s), buffoon, Contrary (Native America Plains Tribes), Fool, Gleeman (England, medieval), Hano (Native American), Harlequin (Commedia Del Arte “&” English Pantomime), Jester, Joey, Koyemsi (Native American Hope Tribe), Minstrel (Europe, medieval, “&” America, 1800’s “&” 1900’s), Newekwe (Native America Zuni Tribe), Tramp (America), Trickster (mythology of many cultures), Whiteface, and Zany (Italy). They have also had as many faces as they have had names, because many clowns have their own “faces”, their own make up and style.
If you find the clown to be more nightmarish then you are said to have coulrophobia.
Here is to the world of clowns – be they for entertainment or to chase off diseases and evil spirits or if they are like Uncle Sam and shot out political campaigns.
May your noses be red and shiny,
And your smile always bright.
May your cheeks be nice and rosy,
Your eyes sparkle in the light.
May your shoes be always too big,
Your costume be perma-pressed,
Your heart overflow with laughter,
Every time your clown is dressed.
May face paint be at the ready,
And your balloons be “easy-blow”.
May children run to greet you,
Wherever you may go.