Traditional folk games have played vital role in our Vietnam culture from time to time. It has still been very strong and magical attraction to every Vietnamese child. Every stories about these games spread into every corner of the country; therefore, tourists should enjoy at least one time if they desire travelling to Vietnam.
Thanks to the Museum of Ethnology for their effort to preserve these invaluable cultural heritages, visitors and foreigners would have a chance to visit and understand how the games were played in the past.
The most favorite traditional games should be listed are: “Rong ran len may” (Dragon and Snake game), “Meo duoi chuot” (Cat and Mouse game), “O an quan” (Mandarin’s Box), etc. Besides fun and excitement, those folk games would enhance the intelligence and observation ability in children.
Cat and Mouse game (Meo duoi chuot)
As a usual, this game includes in more than seven members in a team. They stand in a circle, hold hands and raise their hands above their heads. After that, they will choose one person as a cat and another as a mouse. Both will stand in the middle of circle and lean against each other. When someone shouts 1, 2, 3 and the mouse starts to run, the cat must run after it to chase. The cat will win the game when he catches the mouse. Indochina tours Vietnam
Everyone in the circle starts singing a random song and the cat will run to chase the mouse as fast as possible. Alternatively, sometimes the circle would shout it loud to encourage both the cat and the mouse so they cannot catch each other.
After the first turn, the mouse will act as the cat and again. The game continues to begin.
This game is usually played in a large space and attracts many children. Although “Meo duoi chuot” appeared many years ago, this traditional game is still one of Vietnam culture that hundreds of Vietnamese people never forget.
Dragon and Snake game (Rong ran len may)
Dragon and Snake game is one of several famous traditional Vietnamese games appealing to every child in the country. Whenever they have their pastime, they sometimes play it to have a lot of fun, which expresses a part of Vietnam culture.
There are two characters in this game: a doctor and a long dragon with a tail. The long dragon consists of more than 5 people. The doctor flies to attempt to catch the child who represents the tail of the dragon. The head of the dragon stretches his arms to avoid the doctor find his tail while the tail tries to hide and make a circle.
When the dragon visits to the doctor’s house, they will sing a song to ask about the doctor, his son and the doctor would say he is searching the medicine. After few dialogues, the doctor would say “Pursue at will” and then the dragon have to run as fast as possible with the whole body as the dragon flies to the sky.
If the dragon succeeds in rolling into a circle before the doctor could chase, it wins. Alternatively, if the doctor catches the tail of the dragon, the entire group loses.
Mandarin’s Box (“O an quan”)
Perhaps, foreigners do not know about “O an quan” game – a very old game from Vietnam culture, should try at least one time because it will increase their intelligence and observation a lot.
Usually there are at least two players in the game. They draw a rectangle on the ground and divide into ten small squares called “rice fields”.
Each player has 25 small pebbles, a big stone and then setting the stone in one of mandarin’s box and five small pebbles in other squares. The game begins.
The first player puts one square on his side of the board, not a mandarin’s box, and distributes the pebbles one by one with the next square in an order. After the last pebble stays in the square, the player would continue to distribute other pebbles in the next box.
If the last pebble drops into a square that is an empty square, the player will wins all the pebbles in the square following that empty one and removes all pebbles from the board. If there are more than two empty squares in a row, the player would lose his turn.
The game would continue until both boxes of mandarins are taken. The winner is who has more pebbles than other, and the big stone counts as ten points.
Although there would be hundreds of traditional games in Vietnam, those three are most significant for every child. It is an important part of Vietnam culture to preserve and protect.
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