16/06/2015 09:49 BST | Updated 15/06/2016 06:59 BST

Fifteen Juggling Facts for World Juggling Day


(Image: D McPherson)

Grab your balls, because this Saturday, June 20, is the 20th World Juggling Day. To celebrate here are 15 facts about juggling.

1 - The earliest depiction of juggling is painted on an Egyptian tomb dating from almost 2000 years BC.

2 - Ancient Chinese warriors would show off to their enemies by juggling before battle.

3 - George Washington watched John Bill Ricketts juggle on horseback in America's first circus.

4 - Bounce juggling became possible with the introduction of rubber balls in the late 19th century.

5 - Clubs are easier than balls to juggle on a unicycle because they require less accuracy to catch.

6- Charles Hoey was the first man to juggle with four clubs - but he couldn't stop without dropping them, so the curtain had to come down while he was still juggling.

7 - Juggling burns 280 calories an hour.

8 - Germans such as Salerno (Adolf Behrend) introduced the 'gentleman juggler' style that became popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, wearing formal evening clothes and juggling with dinner party items such as plates, bottles, loaves of bread, hats, canes and chairs.

9 - Enrico Rastelli (1896 - 1931) is considered greatest juggler of all time, being able to juggle ten balls at once.

10 - Antipodism is another name for foot-juggling in which the juggler lies on his or her back to spin and flip objects (or another person) with their feet.

11 - Foot-juggling with a person is known as a Risley act after the 19th century American pioneer of the style Richard Risley Carlisle.

12 - Britain's first juggling superstar, Paul Cinquevalli made his debut at Covent Garden in 1859.

13 - Rings are the easiest prop to juggle in large numbers because they're light and it's easier to hold several.

14 - Scarves are the easiest item to begin juggling with.

15 - The International Juggling Association was formed in 1947.

Douglas McPherson is the author of Circus Mania and blogs about circus at