Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Toys and Games from our youth

If you ever played with the ball-in-the-cup toys with names such as “balero, emboque, perinola” or “capirucho,” or if you flew a kite, known as “cometas, papalotes” or “papagayos,” or if you spent hours aiming at “canicas” or “metras” (marbles), or if you knocked down mangos with a slingshot known as a “resortera, gomera” or “china,” or if time was irrelevant as you played “escondite” (hide and seek) or “gallinita ciega” (blind man’s bluff) – then, without doubt, you were a Hispanic child.
These toys and games for some are a distant memory. For new generations, it is something that does not exist, something that should be in an archaeological museum. These games may not have the shine and sound of today’s new videos and laptops, but they come loaded with heritage and multiculturalism.
“The games are part of the culture and tradition,” say Gretel García and Eduardo Torrijos in their book “Traditional Mexican Games.” The authors say the games -- “gallina ciega, el patio de mi casa, la víbora de la mar” – which are equivalent to blind man’s bluff or singing or circle games such as Ring Around the Rosie – “and many others can be considered classic traditional Mexican songs, but above all as the most joyful and beautiful games that our children have enjoyed for years.”
Tomás García Blanco, author of the book, “To Play like We Played,” summarizes the need to reclaim the games of yesteryear in his introduction as “a simple idea to transmit memories of yesterday to today’s children."

Yesterday’s games

“Lotería,” a game like bingo, “is a game for the whole family,” Eleazar Delgado said in an e-mail, who explained that his uncle was the caller who would utter a phrase about an old woman and pozole that is often used to start the game.
"Rock, paper, scissors. The game of games,” Carlos Durán said via Twitter.
Miguel Estrada said by way of Twitter that his favorite game was “semana inglesa” (literally: English week), a game in which the days of the week are called out and a boy gets a kiss or a girl gives the boy a slap.
If you can, take a trip back in time, grab a top (known to you as “trompo, peón,” or “peonza”), spin it, and hold it in your hand – and if someone sees it, you’ll have a story to tell.

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