What Is National Puzzle Day?
National puzzle day is a non-official holiday celebrated on the 29th January every year. On this day, people are encouraged to try out puzzles of all shapes, sizes, and degrees of difficulties! Puzzles can be anything from crosswords to jigsaws, Sudoku to Rubik’s Cubes. The idea is purely to have fun and enjoy the challenge of tackling a puzzle!
Scientists are confident that participating in puzzles is beneficial to our health. In Science Daily, there is a report from the University of Exeter, published in 2019. The report states, ‘Older adults who regularly take part in word and number puzzles have sharper brains.’ The findings come from the largest online study to date. Certainly, other research lists benefits to be, improved memory, increased I.Q., and better problem-solving skills. In addition to this, participating in puzzles can decrease stress and lift your mood. So, what puzzles should you try?
A puzzle is any game, toy or problem that tests your knowledge, ingenuity, and patience! Puzzles come in all formats and many people have their favourites. Some puzzles tackle words, for example, crosswords, anagrams, riddles, and word searches. For those who enjoy numbers, mathematical problem solving and sudoku are popular. Tactile, mechanical puzzles have been around for centuries too. From Chinese puzzle boxes, to puzzle jugs, puzzle locks, to the more recent, (by comparison to some of these earlier varieties), jigsaw puzzles. Visual puzzles like dot-to dot or spot the difference can be great fun too! Modern video gaming has introduced a whole new world of puzzles to a different generation, for example, tile matching games, platform games and adventure games! In fact, the history of puzzles spans centuries! Let us look at it in more detail.
History of Puzzles
The earliest documented puzzles come from riddles found in Ancient Greece and Egypt. Greek mythology produced the Riddle of the Sphinx, whilst labyrinths proved intricate puzzles, one of the most famous being the Ancient Cretan Labyrinth. The earliest tactile puzzles include bottom-fill vessels first found in Cyprus 1000BC with decorated versions discovered in China around 900AD. In Rome, secret compartment rings dating to 200BC show the use of intricate levers and clasps. In addition to this, the Roman Trick Lock, is carbon date to 100-400 AD. Indeed, trick locks appear to have been extremely popular in Ancient Rome.
Puzzle jugs first appear around 1400s. The trick with these jugs is to drink the contents without spilling a drop. Sounds easy? Not so! The jugs contain a series of holes that leak if you drink normally. The trick is to find a tube that runs through the jug, cover the holes, then suck the fluid up, like a straw.
The origin of Chinese puzzle rings has a mysterious past. Some believe they first appear in Egypt, others, Arabia. History shows them being used as locks and as engagement rings, to be united on the wedding day. You might know them as those interlinked metal hoop puzzles found in many Christmas crackers!
Manufacturing of puzzles came with the Industrial Revolution and a rise in a wealthier middle class. Initially paper or wood versions of puzzles became popular. Sliding puzzles and dissection puzzles, for example. 1760, and the first jigsaw puzzles appear. Created from cut up maps and used to teach geography, jigsaw puzzles have since grown in popularity and remain loved by young and old.
The 1800s introduced puzzle boxes to the masses, often made from ivory, the boxes became associated with the mysterious Chinese culture, though many probably originated from Europe. Joining a mass demand for puzzles, magazine and newspaper editors added puzzles to their publications in the early 20th Century. Prizes increased readership too!
In the 1970’s the Rubik’s Cube took its place in the puzzle chronicles. The Rubik’s Cube created a mass frenzy of new puzzle fans across the globe! Whilst the peak of Rubik’s Cube popularity remains in the 1980s, it is still challenging individuals daily. The World record time for solving this puzzle is an amazing 3.47 seconds, by Du Yusheng, in 2018.
The rise of video gaming leads us onto a new era for puzzles. Tile matching games, for example Tetris, really took off in the late 1980s. Platform games and adventure games also often include puzzles as part of their format. There is certainly plenty of choice for all those that wish to celebrate National Puzzle Day!
So, be it a traditional crossword, a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle or a hidden objects video game, make sure you celebrate on 29th January. Enjoy the benefits, revel in the history and above all folks, have fun!!
Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we hope you have enjoyed reading about National Puzzle Day. We are passionate about celebrating nostalgia and have a wide range of gifts available on our website all celebrating the 20th Century. We are also thrilled to be in the top 50 blogs to read on Feedspot!