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Guinness


Carpenters break clapping world record


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Over 1,000 carpenters gathered in Basel to set a new Guinness record for playing a clapping game. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

The young craftsmen of the Association of Righteous Journeymen Carpenters and Slaters stand out not only for their traditional dress, but for their practice of spending three years as nomads travelling the world and refining their skills. 

It’s a tradition that began in late medieval times. Once on the road, the journeymen are not allowed to return closer than 50km from their hometown. They don’t have mobile phones and are not supposed to use public transport. They walk and hitch their way from workplace to workplace, turning heads as they go. The wanderers are not supposed to go more than a week without work and should not spend more than six months in any one place.

Another tradition is to celebrate the completion of a raw building with a clapping and singing ritual. Its purpose is to remind the carpenters of the dangers that come with building a house. But for many it also symbolises the joy of working.

This weekend over 1,306 carpenters gathered to set a new clapping world record. The event took a lot of preparation, with many travelling to the event from far away. Already an hour before the start, people began warming up. The last clapping record was set in 2015 in Saudi Arabia with 848 people.