Folk games

  • Boat racing

    Boat racing

    From time immemorial, boat racing has appeared in Vietnam. It is not only a competition but also a ritual in honour of the Water God, stemming from the act of praying for water among agricluture-based people.

  • Chanting While Sawing Wood

    Chanting While Sawing Wood

    Both boys and girls play the game of keo cua lua xe. Two children sit opposite each other, holding each other’s hands tightly. While reciting a song, they push and pull each other’s arms and pretend as if they are sawing a piece of wood between them.

  • Blind Man’s Buff

    Blind Man’s Buff

    Children between ages six and 15 enjoy playing bit mat bat de (“catching a goat while blindfolded”). One participant volunteers to play the “goat” and another, the “goat catcher”. Other players form a circle around the players

  • The Art of Traditional Wrestling

    The Art of Traditional Wrestling

    On a beautiful spring day in Nam Dinh, a light breeze blows over the multicoloured traditional flags planted at the four corners of the arena where the finalists of the National Wrestling Championship are about to compete.

  • The Pull of Natural Forces

    The Pull of Natural Forces

    Villagers across Vietnam play various forms of tug of war (keo co). The game is always symbolically linked to the seasons, weather and crops. Tug of war is a popular game for both children and adults since it requires no particular skill or training.

  • Bamboo Swings (Danh Du)

    Bamboo Swings (Danh Du)

    Swings have been traditional game at village festivals for centuries. A Complete History of Dai Viet (Dai Viet su ky toan thu) states: "In the Ly Dynasty, in spring or the first lunar month, boys and girls get together and play this game".

  • Nu Na Nu Nong

    Nu Na Nu Nong

    This is a girls’ chanting game. Several girls sit side by side with their legs stretched out. The head of the game recites a song; at each word, she uses her hand to touch another girl’s leg or foot.

  • Human Chess

    Human Chess

    “Human chess” (co nguoi) is a popular game at village and temple festival. The game follows the general rules of Chinese chess

  • Releasing pigeons (tha chim)

    Releasing pigeons (tha chim)

    A long with other traditional festival games, releasing pigeons has attracted numerous participants since the distant past. Some villages including Tam Giang and Hoan Son villages in Bac Ninh Province still maintain the tradition.