Monday, September 6, 2010

Traditional Chilean games for the National Holiday (ball in cup/emboque)

September is when Chile celebrates. The national holiday (fiestas patrias) falls on September 18th, and between having survived August (#NG), and the upcoming festivities which include traditional games, a whole lot of eating and drinking, kite flying and of course, the cueca (the national dance), there's a lot to get prepared for. And this year is the bicentennial, so there's even more to get prepared for.

And informed about:

reading about the bicentennial

Margaret at Cachando Chile told us a little about one of the little kids' games that turns into a big kid game on September 18th, with competitions to see who can knock down someone else's spinning top. They also make a competition out of our version of the kid's cup and ball game, this time perhaps more aptly named the stick and cap game, or as we call it in Chile, emboque.

Emboque is a game where a stick and a cap are attached by a string, and with a flick of the wrist, the player manages to land the cap atop the stick. In other Spanish-speaking countries it's called bolero, boliche, ticayo, capirucho or coca, and in France it's bilboquet, or so the internet tells me.

emboque 2

En route, it looks like this:

emboque 1

and in case you were wondering, he's not cheating, he's (successfully) executing the advanced version, which involves having the cap on the stick and whipping your wrist around so the cap flies off, flips and lands again. For this part you can hold the string.

I am fairly useless at the emboque, though I fare slightly better with the american ball and cup game. I don't consider this to be a great weakness on my part, and I like to think if I were Chilean I'd be better at it. Now where's that bouncy-ball paddle game when you need it? I could really win a prize with that one.

#NG = transparency. This is a post that takes you to outside of bearshapedsphere, and that I'm paid to write, though it's still excellent and bearshapedspherey.


Gonzalo said...

Too bad those traditional wooden toys like "el emboque" and "el trompo" can't compete with video games or extra cheap plastic toys made in China.
Poor emboque is also used in Chile to say "get lost!", as in "anda a jugar al emboque" (go play emboque) or "anda a jugar con tierra" (go play with dirt) or "anda a ver si está lloviendo en la esquina" (go see if it's raining on te corner), just because you play emboque alone, alone, alone.

Eileen said...

or whatever it was that made that horrible clacking sound about two years ago that all the kids were playing with. In the states it was called kerbangers, and I was never very good at it. I guess I was always more social.

And come on Gonzalo, I know you have a secret blog out there you want us to read. Twitter? nada? No te creo.

No anda a jugar al trompo? too social? too good a chance of the speaker getting hit in the head with it?

Deidre said...

I would definitely not been good at that game - anything that involves hand eye coordination is NOT my thing...

Gonzalo said...

In fact I started a blog but it's still blank. Words don't come easy (too cheesy?). Bloggers like you seem to have a creative engine I'm missing.