Scarecrows are special, human-shaped figures that are created by farmers to scare the birds away from their crops – and even these guys have their own celebration – Build a Scarecrow Day! Traditionally made from straw and covered with old clothes, after they have been completed these scarecrows are usually set in fields. Some more superstitious folks throughout history might have believed that the scarecrows were also powerful enough to ward off evil spirits!
History of Build a Scarecrow Day
The oldest recorded history of the scarecrow makes mention of them in Japan back in 700 AD. In the United States, scarecrows were used long before European settlers arrived, having been a tradition of the Native Americans who lived on the land and set them. Germans immigrating to the New World also likely brought the concept along with them to the state of Pennsylvania.
The term “scarecrow” in English dates back to around the 16th century, but other names for these guys include strawmen, ragamuffins, and even shaggy dogs!
Build a Scarecrow Day is a unique and fun time that is celebrated each year in the USA on the first Sunday of the month of July. The day is always scheduled to take place on the weekend so many people will have the day off of work and can join in on the celebration! On this special day people, perhaps especially those who live in rural or farming communities, will gather to build scarecrows and celebrate the important harvest season.
While Build a Scarecrow Day has been celebrated in some parts of the United States for more than a century, it is now gaining international appeal. Build a Scarecrow Day has been celebrated in rural parts of the United Kingdom since 1990.
Many families and individuals find that National Build a Scarecrow Day is an exciting and delightful opportunity for members of the community to get together and celebrate the changing of the seasons in a unique way. In some places, competitions are even held to see who can make the best scarecrow!
How to Celebrate Build a Scarecrow Day
Build a Scarecrow Day offers a variety of special and unique opportunities for folks to celebrate the important part that farmers and farms play in feeding the people of the planet. Whether for professional farmers, avid gardeners or simply people who eat food, it’s a great time to celebrate with some of these ideas and activities:
Build a Scarecrow
Of course, the first order of business on Build a Scarecrow Day would be to gather a variety of materials and fashion a scarecrow. This can be a fun activity for family members or friends to participate in. Collect some old clothing, hay, grass or another material for stuffing, and don’t forget a pole to hold it up. Get creative in the presentation of the scarecrow and have a load of fun!
Enjoy a Scarecrow Festival
Join in on the fun that already exists in towns and cities that host their own scarecrow festivals. Several towns in the US and the British Isles host scarecrow festivals at times throughout the summer and into the autumn, so Build a Scarecrow Day would be an ideal time to make travel plans to attend one (or all!) of them, including these locations:
- Cambria Scarecrow Festival in Cambria, California, USA
- St. Charles Scarecrow Weekend in St. Charles, Illinois, USA
- Durrow Scarecrow Festival in Durrow, Ireland
- Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival in Kettlewell, North Yorkshire, UK
Visit Nagoro Scarecrow Village in Japan
Those who are feeling particularly adventurous on Build a Scarecrow Day might want to make an international trip out of it and head over to the scarecrow village located in Nagoro, Japan. This isolated village, Kakashi no Sato (translated to Scarecrow Village), located in the Iya Valley, is only home to just a few dozen people, but it boasts more than 200 scarecrows!
Placed around the village in lifelike positions, these scarecrows are participating in all sorts of activities like tending farms, waiting for the bus or taking a nap. Since 2013, more than 350 of these lifesize “dolls” have been created and each one is given a name, personality and background story. Unfortunately, because they mostly live outside, the scarecrow lifespan is only about three years.