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Cyprus Children’s Games:

"Where Have All the Good Old Traditional Cypriot Children's Games Gone?"

31 Ağustos 2016 Çarşamba 16:09
  Cyprus Children’s Games:

Hasan KARLITAŞ

Today I would like to take you back to your childhood…

To reminisce about the children’s games you used to spend your days playing; games that make you yearn for those days.

 

How time flies!

Nevertheless, we were lucky enough to be children in a time when our lives were filled with nostalgic innocent joys, even if it was for a little while…

That time of our lives may now seem so far away, but those were the days…

Despite the hardships and poverty, generations before us had the privilege of living through times in which spiritual wealth and human connection was abundant… What about the generations coming after us?

Currently we live in a technological era…

Genuine feelings have long been replaced by technological communication devices…

Nowadays, most of our times are spent on our computers, our iPhones or our iPads, surfing the net or checking our Facebook, Twitter etc… The era of the Play Station…

 

From the Old to the New: What a Transformation!

Whether we like it or not, we have fallen into the trap of a viral world…

Such is our times…

It is so far removed from the past; a past that was filled with our traditional children’s games. Cypriot Children’s Games were innocent beauties; products of a child’s imagination: pure and magical. They were also deeply influenced by the Cypriot culture. One can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia thinking of those good old days… They thought us the virtue of sharing, solidarity and, inevitably, happiness. It is hard to imagine that any computer could provide us with the same spiritual growth that those games did…

The social life, production and the islander mindset, essentially everything that makes us who we are, all played a part in creating this culture of the past. Therefore, just like a person, every children’s game has a story.

Back in the old days, the Cypriot children were in touch with nature, they spent their days being productive, cultivating the land and rearing animals. The games they created drew heavily on these experiences; they even used their skills to make their own toys. A lot of details captured through the eyes of a child found their way into these games.  For example:

Olive oil, honey and citrus fruit production in Cyprus; rabbit rearing habits of the islanders, even in the capital city of Nicosia; the Mediterranean surrounding the island; the Ottoman and Alawite influences in Cyprus; the importance given to milk consumption and in our daily lives; our islander and friendly nature and finally the interactions we had with the animals on the island were all concepts that made their way into the Cypriot children’s games.

Olive oil and honey production in Cyprus made its way into “I sell oil, I sell honey, my master died and I sell them”; rabbit rearing habits of the islanders, even in the capital city of Nicosia influenced “the bunny lies in the ditch”; the island life and the presence of the Mediterranean influenced “row row boatman, the paddle of the boatman”; being a country that produces citrus fruits led to “I peeled the orange and put it by my bedside”; Alawite influences in Cyprus created “tahta tahta ben var”; the influence of Ottoman court traditions led to “there is a letter from the palace”; the importance of milk consumption in our daily lives was reflected in “is the milk done?”; whereas the importance of trade was reflected in “leader of the merchants, leader of the merchants, open the door”; the interactions with animals on the island created “Water the donkey, was it hot or was it cold?”, “Did you ride the camel to go to Aleppo?”, “Did you see the bird over there? Were you scared or were you not?”, “Get up and feed the cow”, “The flee bit me, go up” and finally the islander mindset and the friendly nature of the Cypriots was featured in the “neighbours” games. How many children are left nowadays who grew up with the words “Gavrın gavrın gavrıncık…”?

How familiar and genuine the feelings put into these games are…

Apart from the ones above, there were also games created at no extra cost, by using mostly natural materials. Those that immediately come to mind include kites made out of canes, “Lingiri”, which requires only sticks of different sizes and “Pirilli”, which was played with either marbles won out of bottle caps or with cypress cones used as marbles. Other games that shouldn’t be forgotten include “Ayak daşı” (Foot stone), “Üç daş” (Three stones), “beş daş” (Five Stones), “aşıg kemik oyunu” (ankle bone shooting), “ip atlama” (rope skipping), “tahdaravalli” (Seesaws), “uzun eşşek” (Long donkey), “yakan top” (Dodgeball) and finally “körebe” (blind man’s buff) and “yakalamaca” (tag), which were obligatory during long summer nights and were almost always played with girls and boys teaming up against each other.

We were so fond of these games that we never wanted to stop playing, even after the repeated calls of our mothers to come home. 

It is impossible to sit and watch as this colourful mosaic of games lose ground to technology and become obsolete…Let’s make sure we preserve these Cypriot children’s games…

 

Anahtar Kelimeler: Cyprus Children’s Games:

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