World Puppetry Day has been celebrated on March 21 by the International Puppetry Association, UNIMA, since 2003.
UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionette) was founded in Prague in 1929.
UNIMA-USA, its American branch, was founded by Muppets creator Jim Henson in 1966.
Jim Henson's Muppets first appeared in US advertisements for Wilkins coffee in 1957.
Henson said that he chose the name 'muppets' simply because it sounded good.
Others claim it was coined as a cross between marionettes (operated by strings) and puppets (worked by hand).
The Oxford English Dictionary also defines a muppet as "A lure made to resemble a young squid, used in sea fishing".
The earliest evidence of puppetry has been dated to around 2000BC in Egypt.
The oldest written record of puppetry is in the works of the Greek historian and philosopher Xenophon around 420BC.
English Punch and Judy puppets date back to the 16th century, when Judy was called Joan.
The word 'marionette' first described figures of the Virgin Mary in puppet morality plays.
'Mariotette' meant 'little Mary'. When comedy was introduced into these shows, the Church banned puppetry.