Oct. 28, 2012
What’s the first amusement attraction you can remember riding? Chances are, it was a carousel or something similar. Carousels are perfect for young kids. They’re slow, colorful and filled with friendly-looking animals. On the other hand, carousels aren’t just for little kids. These charming rides are enjoyed by people of all ages.
Carousels have a long history. Hundreds of years ago, people in the Middle East played a game that Spanish Crusaders called carosella. This word means “little war.” Participants rode horses and tried to catch balls filled with perfume. If they made a bad catch, they were doused with the smelly stuff. They also tried to catch rings on spears while galloping at full speed.
Carosella later caught on in France. It was used to train young knights. A practice machine was created using wooden horses that moved on a rotating platform. People, mules and horses powered the machine. It looked like so much fun that kids asked to ride, too. This new invention became known as the carousel.
When steam engines came along, they were used to turn the carousels. This made it possible to power bigger carousels that could hold more people. Carousels soon became popular all over the world. Many included rings for riders to try to catch, sort of like the old carosella game. In the 1800s, the first carousels arrived in the United States.
Many carousels have beautifully carved animals, though they aren’t always horses. Some carousels include zebras, elephants, deer and even sea horses. A carousel at the Los Angeles Zoo features endangered animals, such as a lowland gorilla and a mountain tapir.
A ride called Jane’s Carousel sparkles under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The antique carousel was painted and restored by an artist named Jane Walentas. She also owns a horse stable. As Jane worked on the 48 wooden horses, perhaps she thought about her real horses.
“Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?” (Job 39:19, NIV).
People can make beautiful things, like carousels and wooden horses. But only God can create life. God made every living thing on Earth, including people. There is no one else in the world exactly like you. The God who created you loves you very much. Through all life’s ups and downs and round and rounds, He wants to be your closest Friend.
— By Christina Quick
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