Today's post is a trip back in time - my husband has very fond memories of three games he used to play in childhood and which are desribed below:
Dawama is a spinning top made from wood and string - the centre of the spinning top is taken out and a small piece of metal (made by a blacksmith) is inserted to make it stronger. The idea was to damage the other person’s top.
Image taken from: www.helga.com/collections/yemen/people/8kids2.jpg (faboulous images from across the Arabian peninsula)
This involves two teams of children, two sticks made from dried palm leaves and a small stone. One stick needs to be about 1 ½ to 2 feet and the other needs to be about 6 inches long.
The smaller stick is put on the ground, with one end resting on the stone – one end touches the floor and the other end is in the air. The idea is to hit the small stick with the big stick and curl it into the air. As the stick flies up you then hit it again to see how far you can hit it.
The person who has hit the stick has to run around an area marked out like a baseball or cricket pitch. Whilst this is happening the other team has to catch the stick.
Whilst the person is running they must repeat the name of the game, “gut-ta-la-gut-ti, gut-ta-la-gut-ti, gut-ta-la-gut-ti”. It is impossible to score a run if you don’t repeat the name of the game whilst running.
This game would be played only on Ramadan evenings when parents were safely out of the way. It is like a military game without weapons and involves two teams.
At the beginning of the game the rules are decided by the size of the team and all who are playing; where to go and where not to go.
One team hides and the other team counts to 10 or 100. Once the number has been reached, the team who has counted runs around to find the team which has hidden. The aim of the game is to catch members of the opposition one by one, if you see someone you must run after him until you catch him.
The best place for this game to be played is in the small alleys and deserted houses in the suq, and it also needs darkness in order to hide effectively.