Archery Day is celebrated annually on the second Saturday in May and takes place on May 13 this year. Archery is a skill that defined human civilization at its early stages. It’s been around for ages and, in a way, helped shape today’s world. Archaeologists believe the use of bows and arrows started as early as 50,000 years ago. Early humans threw spears to kill their enemies. Soon, people found that it is easier if you use a bow and decrease the size of the spear. This tactic laid the foundation for archery. Bows and arrows soon dominated warfare and became an integral part of every ancient military unit. This holiday was created to celebrate archery in all its glory and educate people about the different facets of the sport.
History of Archery Day
Using a bow and arrow is the best way to hunt animals. The earliest use of arrows dates back to Africa, as far back as 72,000 to 60,000 years ago. Every civilization used some type of bow, which they developed independently. Archery provided a safe way to bring down big game from the comfort of a safe distance.
Nations evolved out of early human settlements, and war became a common sight. A simple tool used for hunting soon turned out to be a deadly weapon of war. The Mongols invented composite recurve bows with lethal accuracy and ease of use. Genghis Khan’s military used these bows lethally in their conquests and reduced kingdoms to wastelands.
In ancient warfare, archery was the pinnacle of projective weapons. It laid the foundation for modern warfare and helped shape the modern world. Regardless, only those with the strength to draw the bowstring and accuracy could become an archer.
The invention of crossbows made it easy for anyone to be an archer. Around the seventh century B.C., the Chinese discovered crossbows. In his book, “Belopoeica” Greek author Heron of Alexandria describes the use of ‘gastraphetes.’ These are also a form of crossbow used in Greece as early as the fourth century B.C.
In any form, archery defined warfare for thousands of years. Many wars were fought and won by archers, be it the horseback archers of the Mongols who decimated entire nations, the European longbow archers, or the crossbow users. Archers have helped shape warfare from a melee form to a long-range art. Modern warfare sees the decline of bows and arrows, but archery remains an inspiration for every modern weapon produced, from handguns to long-distance ballistic missiles fired from continents apart.
Archery Day timeline
Explorers discover stone arrowheads in Sibudu Cave, South Africa.
Genghis Khan starts his conquest and uses composite recurve bows on horseback.
Archery officially becomes an Olympic sport.
The National Archery in Schools Program makes National Archery Day a celebratory holiday.
Archery Day FAQs
What is archery?
Archery is a practice developed during the dawn of human civilization for hunting and warfare using a bow and an arrow. Nowadays, archery is a recreational activity classified as a competitive sport.
Can I own a compound bow?
You can own a compound bow without any license because the Firearms Registry in New South Wales does not control ownership. It is not a prohibited weapon and can be used for recreational activities, sporting events, and hobbies.
Is archery easy to learn?
Archery is not an expensive activity, but the uber pieces of equipment could cost a few bucks extra. A standard bow is usually expensive, however, arrows are much more affordable.
Archery Day Activities
Create your bow and arrow
We will admit that this is not going to be an easy task. But you don’t have to create a professional bow to be part of the archery day. Try some D.I.Y. bows from the internet and create your custom bow.
Get some archery practice
Archery is generally a safe sport with a lower injury rate than golf. But that does not mean it is child’s play. Go to a safe area to practice your archery skills. Get safety information from a professional and start practice.
Start an archery-themed event
Get your friends who share the same enthusiasm for archery as you do. Make sure the safety standards are in place and conduct a shooting event. If there is no safe atmosphere in your background, arrange an archery-themed party.
5 Facts About Arrows That Will Interest You
The first arrows didn’t have metal tips
Arrows were first tipped with arrowheads shaped from bone, horn, and flint.
Arrows are fast
An arrow released in a competition can fly at an incredible 150 m.p.h.
Indians used poisoned arrows
During Alexander's conquest of India, his armies were attacked by lethal arrows dipped in the venom of Russell’s viper.
Arrows had goose feather
Medieval archers used goose feathers on the arrows to increase stability and prevent tail yaw.
The use of flaming arrows
Besieging armies use flaming arrows to set fire to distract the defending army to put down the engulfing flames.
Why We Love Archery Day
Every nation has its own bow design
Every ancient and medieval nation had an archer corps within its military. Most countries have unique designs and modifications to their bows and arrows. When a nation or tribe developed a better bow, they immediately dominated the battlefield.
Archery is good for the body
Archery is a very good exercise for the body. The strength needed to draw an arrow can stress the chest, back muscles, hands, and rotator cuffs that support the shoulders. Additionally, archery can help improve focus and control. Practicing archery can burn about 100 calories more than your resting rate.
Archery can foster social relations and confidence
Archery needs extreme mental focus, attention, and coordination. Regular archery practice can help develop patience, confidence, and inner peace. Archery is also one of the only sports globally that allows someone new to compete with world champions. This helps foster new friendships and relationships. In addition, matches do not have barriers and constraints, enabling social interaction.
Archery Day dates