Knowledge is Power
Here's a fun little brief history of hooping, courtesy of hulahooping.com. :D
History of Hula Hooping
From 500 BCE to the 21st Century
No one knows for sure when or where a circle of willow, rattan, grapevines or stiff grasses became a form of exercise. We do know that Egyptian children played with hoops made out of dried grapevines, rolling them with sticks or whirling them around their waist. The ancient Greeks used hoops to exercise. A vase in the Louvre [dated 500-490 BCE] shows Ganymede rolling a hoop. However, there is no evidence that hooping was part of the early Olympics.
Hoops were popular in Great Britain in the 14th century as a form of recreation and religious ceremonies. Medical records from the era record doctors treating dislocated backs and heart attacks that were attributed to hooping.
The term “hula hoop” came from British sailors who had seen hula dancing in the Hawaiian Islands and thought it looked similar to the movements of hooping back home. Hooping was again popular in England in the 1800 where children would roll hoops with a stick or spin the hoop around their waist.
Hoop dancing is a form of storytelling for Native American Indians dating back to the 1400s. With no beginning or end, it symbolizes the never-ending circle of life. Dancers used dozens of small hoops, typically made of reeds, as symbolic representations of animals such as eagles, snakes, butterflies or coyotes. Their hoop dance uses very rapid movements and the off-body use of hoops to construct symbolic forms around their bodies.
Tony White Cloud ushered in modern Native American hoop dancing in the 1930s when he began using multiple hoops to perform stylized dances to weave stories of how life is connected with changes and transitions.
There is an annual Native American Hoop Dance competition at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
The hula hoop craze of the late 50’s can be traced to Australia, where children twirled hoops made out of bamboo. When the production of bamboo hoops could not meet the demand, Toltoys was engaged to make hoops out of plastic and sold 400,000 hoops in 1957.
Hula Hoops from the 50's were small colorful plastic tubes made primarily for children to play and exercise. Today, hula hooping has come full circle. Children still love them and adults have begun using stronger, larger, heavier hoops for fitness and fun.
Popularized in the U.S.
Childhood friends Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin began the Wham-O Company in a Los Angeles garage in 1948, originally selling slingshots.
Legend has it that Wham-O founders first heard about twirling hoops from a visiting Aussie. They began manufacturing polyethylene hoops in 1958. Wham-O passed out free hoops and gave demonstrations across southern California playgrounds and the hula hooping frenzy was born.
This craze lasted from January to October, then died out suddenly. It is estimated that over 100 million hoops were sold in its first year. The original price per hoop was $1.98.
By the mid 60’s, hula hoop sales were lagging so Wham-O added several ball bearings inside the tube to make noise. This helped launch a second hooping craze, including a National Hula Hoop Contest that ran from 1968 – 1981.
The 1980 World Hula Hoop Championship was held in more than 2,000 cities with an estimated two million participants.
Judging was done on compulsory moves, including the Knee Knocker, Stork, Hula Hop, Wrap the Mummy, Alley Oop, as well as freestyle dance routines.
Interesting to note, Wham-O was not able to patent the hula hoop as it had been in use for thousands of years. Merely using a new material did not meet the requirement of originality to secure a patent. They were, however, able to trademark the name “Hula Hoop” in the United States.
Courtesy of www.hulahooping.com.
Charity Bidegain, ACE Certified Personal Trainer. Supporting all who live the mission of helping us all to live healthier, more fulfilled lives.