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Build A Scarecrow Day

Unraveling the History and Celebration of Build a Scarecrow Day

Step right into the whimsical world of scarecrows! In this article, we embark on a fascinating journey to explore the history and celebration of Build a Scarecrow Day. From the ancient roots of scarecrows in Japan and Native American traditions to the introduction of these fascinating figures by German immigrants, we’ll uncover the origins that have led to this beloved and worldwide celebration.

So, grab your straw hats and join us as we dive into the captivating tale of Build a Scarecrow Day.

1) Scarecrows in Japan and Native American Tradition:

1.1 Scarecrows in Japan:

  • Did you know that scarecrows are deeply rooted in Japanese history?
  • Ancient Japanese farmers used scarecrows called “kakashi” to protect their crops from pesky avian invaders.
  • Traditional kakashi scarecrows were crafted from bamboo and rice straw, adorned with colorful clothing.
  • These ornate creations not only scared away birds but also served as talismans to ward off evil spirits and ensure a bountiful harvest.
  • Even today, Japan holds an annual “Waraku Kakashi Festival” to celebrate the ancient tradition of scarecrow craftsmanship.
  • Thousands gather to create and display their artistic kakashi, showcasing the rich cultural history behind these beloved guardians of the fields.

1.2 Scarecrows in Native American Tradition:

  • Native American communities also embraced scarecrows as a means of protecting their crops.
  • These scarecrows were often called “bird scarers” and were constructed using natural materials available in the local environment.
  • Tribes across America utilized scarecrows crafted out of cornhusks, corn stalks, straw, and even animal bones.
  • These ingenious designs blended seamlessly with nature, fooling birds into believing a human presence was guarding the crops.
  • Native American scarecrows also held symbolic significance, representing gratitude towards nature for providing sustenance and the importance of respecting the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

2) Introduction of Scarecrows by German Immigrants:

  • Fast forward to the 18th century when German immigrants first brought scarecrow techniques to America.
  • Settling in Pennsylvania, these immigrants introduced their own unique variation of scarecrows to the New World.
  • Pennsylvania German farmers developed the iconic “bootjack scarecrows,” recognizable for their triangular shape and boot-like feet.
  • Apart from their form, these scarecrows were practical in design, with hinged arms that could move with the wind to further deter birds.
  • The arrival of German immigrants in America forever altered the scarecrow landscape, infusing it with their distinct cultural practices and craftsmanship.
  • Their legacy can still be seen in scarecrow festivals and displays across Pennsylvania today.

3) Celebrating Build a Scarecrow Day:

3.1 Build a Scarecrow Day in the USA:

  • Build a Scarecrow Day has gained immense popularity in the United States, particularly as an interactive and educational activity for children.
  • This annual celebration, taking place on the first Sunday of July, brings families and communities together to create their own unique scarecrows.
  • Schools, community centers, and even local farms organize events where participants can let their creativity shine by constructing scarecrows using various materials such as straw, old clothes, and recycled materials.
  • Apart from their deterrent function, Build a Scarecrow Day also serves as a fun and engaging way to teach children about agriculture, crop protection, and nature’s delicate balance.
  • It provides an opportunity for families to bond, enjoy the outdoors, and stimulate imaginative play.

3.2 International Celebration of Build a Scarecrow Day:

  • Build a Scarecrow Day has crossed borders and become an international phenomenon.
  • The United Kingdom, for example, has embraced this quirky celebration and hosts its own version of the event.
  • British communities take part in scarecrow competitions, where participants vie for the most creative, comical, and astounding scarecrow designs.
  • These celebrations bring laughter, joy, and a sense of community to both rural and urban areas.
  • The international celebration of Build a Scarecrow Day is a testament to the enduring appeal of these enigmatic figures, which have found a special place in the hearts of people worldwide.


As we conclude our journey through time and celebration, we’ve highlighted the roots of scarecrow traditions in Japan and Native American communities. We also explored the significant role played by German immigrants in shaping scarecrow craftsmanship in America.

Moreover, the joyous celebration of Build a Scarecrow Day, both in the USA and around the world, showcases the enduring charm and cross-cultural appeal of these straw-filled guardians. So, whether you’re Strawman Sam or Scarecrow Sarah, embrace the spirit of Build a Scarecrow Day, and let your imagination take flight as you bring these timeless protectors to life!

4) How to Celebrate Build a Scarecrow Day:

4.1 Building a Scarecrow:

Build a Scarecrow Day offers an exciting opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity while constructing their very own scarecrows.

Here are the steps to building a scarecrow that will marvel friends and neighbors alike:

  1. Gather Materials: Start by collecting the necessary materials, including a wooden stake or pole for support, old clothes, straw, gloves, and a hat.
  2. Assemble the Frame: Drive the wooden stake firmly into the ground at your desired location, making sure it stands tall and stable. Attach the crossbar to the top of the stake to create a “T” shape, providing support for the scarecrow’s body.
  3. Dress Your Scarecrow: Dress your scarecrow in the chosen clothing, ensuring that its arms and legs extend naturally from the frame. Consider adding accessories like a scarf or a belt to give it a unique sense of style.
  4. Stuff with Straw: Begin stuffing the scarecrow’s clothing with straw, starting from the legs and working your way up. Make sure to pack the straw firmly to give your scarecrow its plump and inviting appearance.
  5. Design the Face: Give your scarecrow a personality by adding a face. You can use buttons, old masks, or even draw facial features on a burlap sack or pillowcase. Let your creativity guide you as you bring your scarecrow to life!
  6. Top It Off: Finally, place a hat of your choice on your scarecrow’s head, adding the finishing touch. A worn-out hat or a colorful straw hat can add character and protect your scarecrow from the elements.

4.2 Scarecrow Festivals:

Scarecrow festivals are vibrant events held across the globe, celebrating the allure and creativity of scarecrow making. Some notable festivals include:

  1. The Warren County Scarecrow Festival (New Jersey, USA): This annual event brings together locals and visitors for a day of scarecrow festivities. Each year, participants showcase their handmade scarecrows, compete for prizes, and immerse themselves in an atmosphere of general merriment.
  2. The Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival (North Yorkshire, England): This charming English village comes alive every August with an array of imaginative scarecrow designs. From whimsical characters to famous figures, the festival creates a mesmerizing display that visitors can enjoy while exploring the picturesque village.
  3. The Cambria Scarecrow Festival (California, USA): Taking place in the coastal town of Cambria, this festival invites locals and tourists alike to marvel at the creative scarecrows scattered throughout the town. From scarecrow sculptures to themed displays, it’s a delightful experience that captivates young and old alike.

4.3 Visiting Nagoro Scarecrow Village in Japan:

For a truly captivating scarecrow experience, venture to the enchanting Nagoro Scarecrow Village in the remote Iya Valley, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. The village, created by artist Ayano Tsukimi, features over 350 life-size scarecrows, resembling former residents of the village.

As you wander through the streets of Nagoro, you’ll encounter a variety of these eerie yet fascinating straw figures. From farmers and schoolchildren to old women sitting by the river, each scarecrow has a story to tell.

The attention to detail and the sense of lifelike presence evoked by Tsukimi’s creations make Nagoro an extraordinary destination for scarecrow enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

5) Interesting Facts About Scarecrows:

5.1 Scarecrows as Bird Deterrents and Warding Off Evil Spirits:

The primary purpose of a scarecrow is to deter birds from ravaging crops. However, the origins of scarecrows extend beyond birds. Throughout history, scarecrows were also believed to ward off evil spirits and protect crops from supernatural harm.

In societies where agriculture played a significant role, scarecrows became powerful symbols of protection and continuity.

5.2 Different Names for Scarecrows:

Scarecrows have acquired various names in different parts of the world.

Here are a few intriguing names given to these fascinating guardians:

  1. Tattie Bogles (Scotland): Derived from the Scottish word “tattie,” meaning potato, and “bogle,” referring to a ghost or goblin, Tattie Bogle epitomizes the mystical scarecrows found in Scottish fields.
  2. Migrash (Israel): In Israel, farmers refer to scarecrows as Migrash. These humble figures are often constructed using clothing stuffed with hay or other materials found in abundance on the farm.
  3. Kakashi (Japan): We mentioned earlier the Japanese “kakashi” scarecrows, named after the sound they produce in the wind. They serve as not only bird deterrents but also as protectors against evil spirits.

Scarecrows, embodying both practicality and folklore, have become a timeless symbol of agricultural wisdom and cultural heritage. Whether you find yourself building a scarecrow, attending a scarecrow festival, or exploring the captivating Nagoro Scarecrow Village, embrace the whimsy and wonder that these straw-filled guardians bring.

Celebrate Build a Scarecrow Day with open arms and let your imagination flourish, honoring the ancient tradition that brings joy to our fields and hearts. In conclusion, the history and celebration of Build a Scarecrow Day reveals the global fascination and cultural significance of these unique figures.

From their origins in Japan and Native American traditions to the influence of German immigrants in America, scarecrows have evolved into symbols of protection, creativity, and community. The annual celebration of Build a Scarecrow Day brings people together, encouraging creativity and education about agriculture.

Whether you build your own scarecrow, visit a scarecrow festival, or explore the captivating Nagoro Scarecrow Village in Japan, these straw-filled guardians continue to capture our imagination and remind us of the timeless connection between humanity and the land we cultivate. So, grab your materials and let your creativity soar, for embracing Build a Scarecrow Day is not just about constructing scarecrows, but about embracing the joy, cultural diversity, and the enduring spirit of these enigmatic figures.

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