The Children's Games

I asked a woman called Elif Bacı who is in her fifties about the games she would play in her youth:

- She said, we would play sölek (slide), ball and Çelik çuluk.

- Wouldn’t you play with dolls, I asked.

— No, we would act out

the doll games ourselves, would there ever be a baby game played alone at home, we would play ourselves, boys and girls together, for example, one of us would be a baby, one of us would be a mother and a boy would be a father, we would act out the family, we would be brides. We don't know babies made of rags like that. We play slides, we call it Sölek. In our ball game, one of us stands at the opposite side, and one of us leans on the ground and puts his back to the wall, someone gets on the back of this bent child, leans against the wall, and they throw a ball to each other with the person standing alone. Whoever can't hold it will lie on the ground, we'll ride on the back. This game was our sweetest game. Are the games played today really games?


They tie a hemp (rope) to a tree, the child who is the it holds the end of this rope, on the other hand, they twist a thick cloth and tie the end of it many times, and leave it next to the it. At the same time, each child knots the end of a cloth in the same way and leaves it next to the it. When this is done, everyone starts to approach the it to get their cloths. The it chases the children with the end of the rope tied to the tree in one hand and cloths in the other hand. (The purpose of holding the rope tied to the tree is to ensure that it does not go out of bounds) If the it can touch someone with the cloths in his hand, the person it touches becomes the it. And he gets many punches with the clothes and occupies his place. (Şaziye H. twelve years old)


They blindfold a child who is crouching on the ground alone, while the other children form a row behind each other, in their own words, wandering blowzily. The first one in the rows asks to the it:

- What do you want?

And the it says:

- I want water.

 The first one again says:

- Kaloghlan broke the glass.

This question and answer are repeated three times and the first one asks again: - It, stick your tongue out.

And the it says:

- The wolf took it.

Then, all the children start to turn around the it saying, “It, do not give me to the wolf”, but they do not walk away. If the it holds the skirt of anybody, the one who is held says:

- It, bring me food, bring me fat meat.

Then, they blindfold this child, she becomes it, and the others try to hold her. This game is played only by girls. (Şaziye H. twelve years old)


They put a stone on the ground and put a short piece of stick, which they call Çellik, on top of it, with another long wand, which they call the Çulluk, they hit the stick and make it fly. At the opposite side, another child tries to hold Çellik with the bush in his hand. If the bush touches this Çellik and falls to the ground, the boy holding the bush wins and occupies the den. The child occupying the den hits the Çellik with the wand in his hand, and says, the first one for my food, the second one for my den, ant the the third one for my ass. If the Çellik does not hit the bush, he hits the Çellik nonstop, makes it fly and counts step by step. In the past, boys and girls always played this game together, now it's up to boys only. (Ahmet, son of İshak Ali, from Döngele village, fourteen years old)


In the game, one side is accepted as the girl’s side and other is accepted as the boy’s side. When two children play this game, one of them says:

- I want a girl.

The other child throws the ashik, if the ashik comes as boy’s side, then the first child loses the game. This game is played with money like gambling. The one losing the game has to give the money agreed on at the beginning. The game finishes at thirty score. The girl side is counted as three and the boy side is counted as two. Before starting this game, they bring ashes in a bound handkerchief. They blow it into the face of the child who loses the game again and again and does not give the money, and they cover his face and eyes with ashes.  (Ahmet, son of İshak Ali, from Döngele village, fourteen years old)


One of the main games of boys is the marbles, which they call cannonball. This game is played by children from the age of five and young people up to the age of 25-30. All the youth were addicted to this game. The children played with the money in their own pockets, while the adults played with lots of money.

How the game is played: The ones who will play stick the coins vertically into the ground, two cubits apart. They try to hit the coin by throwing the marbles by making a den from ten, fifteen steps away. The hitter throws marbles until it's wasted, and gets what he wins. Before the game, one of the players says "I'm the first", the other says "I'm the second", the third says "I'm the third", the fourth "I'm the fourth", the fifth child says "I'm the fifth", the sixth child says "I'm the sixth". This game is very sweet. (Ukâş from Maraş, fourteen years old)


Source: Müşfika Abdulkadir