Slackrope Walking
Cultural Traditions
Larakhagh (Slackrope Walking) - An Armenian Tradition

Larakagh, or seasonal slackrope walking, is a dying tradition in Armenia. It is a part of a series of Armenian New Year rituals.

Cultural Origins

Walking from the old year into the new is presented, through slackrope watching, as a dangerous undertaking. Yalanchi liminal clowns stand on the threshold between light and dark and play an important part in the ritual. The music traditionally played is “The Dance of the Funambulist”.

The Tightrope Walker

Down below a child sits breathless
Open mouth and upturned face
High above, the tightrope walker
Balancing with eerie grace
Life-affirming, death-defying,
Poised between the day and night
And the New Year fast approaching
Bringing in the morning light

Chaos grappling with order
Locked together in their fight
Shadows gathering together
Darkness wrestling with light
On the one side peace and plenty
On the other war and strife
High above, the tightrope walker
Practicing the dance of life

Paddy Swanson, 2002