Desk Report

24 May, 2024 17:29

Traditional Games of Bangladesh: Indoor and Outdoor Heritage

Like every other country, Bangladesh has a rich cultural background, which has promulgated an enormously diverse range of indoor and outdoor activities that have become part of life. Whereas folk music and dance performances reflect the primordial vitality of the population, elaborate strategies involved in the traditional games such as ‘Kabaddi’, ‘Carrom’, and many others expose the vibrant culture of the country. Find out more about the traditional games of Bangladesh, the indoor and outdoor heritages among Bangladeshi players.

Bangladesh is home to a rich cultural legacy that has resulted in several classic indoor and outdoor activities that are now part of everyday life. For instance, in North Bengal, Boli Khela, also known as Bali Khela, is a traditional wrestling style that is especially well-liked in the Chittagong region and is regarded as the district's national game. The boys play a group game called Jhappuri Khela or Danguli. Forming a circle, the players stand in waist-deep water in a pond. The last player in the circle becomes the tiger in the next round. One of the players is holding a fruit that floats on water.

On the other hand, in Gollachut or Gollachhut, players on the king's team—typically consisting of eight to ten players — form a chain by holding hands, with one opposing player holding onto the stick. A stick is placed in the center of a 20-meter circle. Another popular classic game continues that ladies usually play is ekka-dokka or hopscotch, also known as Guti.

These folk games not only provide great entertainment but also contain cultural significance, a sign of cultural history, and the country's social framework. Most games are played on land and can be played by either gender or by boys and girls. While indoor games are ideal for balmy summer evenings to turn the time into fun, outdoor games played in courtyards of villages create a bond of fellowship, challenge, and people's dwelling.

Indoor Games: Cultural Traditions
Sports and indoor games have a special place in the heritage of Bangladesh as they provide avenues for sociocultural interactions such as Snakes and Ladders, and amusement within the familiar surroundings of a house or local venue. According to Financial Express, here are some traditional games deeply ingrained in the Bangladeshi lifestyle:

Ludo: An Exciting Board Game
Ludo (a popular recreation board game in Bangladesh that draws everyone, young or old) is a beloved indoor game. Its gameplay comes from an Indian game called Pachisi, which was invented long ago and involved British people when they ruled the Empire. Unlike the other games, this game is usually played on a square board with colorful patterns; by rolling dice, the two players form and move their tokens within the board in Bangladesh.

The players are needed to formulate an idea of how they will lead their tokens to the center of the board while blocking other players. Ludo is not just a game of chance, but the players also require tactical thinking so that the family members and the friends are sitting around the indoor table and playing Ludo, and they cherish the festivals and the holidays.

Carrom: Art and Strategy
Carrom is another much-appreciated indoor game, all attached to our culture as Bangladeshis. The origin of carrom from the Indian subcontinent does not matter, but Bangladesh derived the game in the colonial period. The game is played on a square hardboard, and each corner has sockets. The objective is to use a flicking striker to shoot the discs into those sockets.

The principle of the game is also getting the most of your balls into pockets before your opponent can, thus you must be both a good strategist and a skilled shot maker. Carom tournaments are very common in our country, whether it is a local, regional or national championship. Countrymen's passion for this classic game reflects their sportsman spirit, giving them a platform to pursue their passion without fear of discrimination.

Checkers: A Classic Mind Game
Checkers is known worldwide as a strategically advanced move, thus testing traditional Bangladeshi players' strategic skills. One player takes the battle to a checkerboard, guiding the pieces to protect themselves and trying to capture the opponent's pieces. The lovers of the game checkers are chummily linked to the sneaking micro parties for many players, the challenging strategic part of playing this game is acquired with each movement.

Outdoor Games: Sporting Spirit and Traditions
Frolic the open-air games, along with organizing sports activities and building interpersonal relationships, is a fact Downhill of Bangladesh. Here are some traditional outdoor games cherished by Bangladeshis:

Kabaddi: Strength and Agility
Kabaddi, a traditional South Asian sport, has a strong presence in Bangladesh. Be it a game of clutches or lunges, kabaddi in Bangladesh is more than just a popular game and an outdoor sport. It symbolizes the smooth blend of physical power, strategy, and teamwork in one package. The lineage of kabaddi can be traced to ancient India when it was a battlefield sport that raised warriors' bravery levels. In Bangladesh, Kabaddi plays a role in developing two broader levels, i.e., amateur and professional ranks. This game is played by two teams.

The objective of the game is for two teams to compete against each other. The teams should have equal number of players. Each one team takes turns sending its "raider" to the camp of the opposing team to tag as many enemies as possible before it returns to the opposing team's camp, which its supporters occupy. Kabaddi represents the strength, savviness, teamwork, and passion of our country's people; therefore, fans like this game all over the nation.

Gilli-Danda: Ancestral Bangladeshi Game
Gilli-Danda, the indigenous sport of Bangladesh, is unique and reflects the essence of life in rural areas: peace, simplicity, and togetherness. Players can achieve maximum distance or specific parts with a short gilli or gulli while using a danda (a larger stick) dug into the ground. The opposing player try to catch the piece of wood before it falls to the ground. Although Gilli-Danda is a fierce and furious game, the team that keeps their cool and stays focused wins the game. This outdoor pastime, which is sometimes aired in small courtyards or lawns, brings about comfort and friendly competition among passers-by and spectators.

Kho Kho: A Fast Team Game
Kho Kho, an entertainment-chasing tag game in which speed and assistance are key factors, has been considered a special favorite by the younger people of Bangladesh. The game requires participants come together in groups and compete for the ability to run between opponents, and then they tag their victim to remain in the game. Kho Kho games are well-known for their quick-paced action and cunning tactics. Such games, in turn, attract eager, exciting crowds and unite people in a community spirit.

Other games that are played are Boat Race, Ha-Du-Du (game of tag), Tug and Trip, Kanamachhi, Bouchi, Holdug, Chungakhela, Gaigodani, chikka, Langdi etc. Kanamachhi (literally, blind bee or blind man's buff) is played by boys and females. One player has a scarf wrapped around his or her eyes. The rest behave like 'bees' around the 'blind' player. On the other hand, Boat Race (sometimes spelled Nowka Bais) is a traditional dragon boat-style paddling sport from Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Rowing Federation, established in 1974, is the governing body for all rowing activities in Bangladesh and has hosted over 40 National Rowing Championships. Langdi, also known as Langdi tang, is a tag game in which the tagger must hop on one foot while their opponents must run across a tiny field.

Modern Interpretations and Preservation of Tradition
The last few years have been of great interest to the involvement in the values of sustaining and progressing age-old Bangladeshi games. The new and trending forms of entertainment have taken a high place in our lives. This process is a participatory effort, and through it we see organizations and individuals setting up tournaments, workshops and cultural events to give way for documenting, reviving and popularizing these games.

Besides that, you can notice the phenomenon of intercalation of the old game means to the new forms of game playing, which make not only hybrid versions of the games. They also make sure that the elements of true culture are present in the games. These programs also protect the existence of their own games. Equally, they also value Bangladesh’s cultural past and the pride the people feel for the nation.

Final Thoughts
At the heart of Bangladesh, a nation renowned for its rich cultural heritage, sports and indoor games have long played an important role in its diverse culture and history. Bangladesh’s traditional indoor and outdoor games provide a pleasurable and luxurious experience and build cultural heritage and social bonding. Traditional sports take quite a few forms. From pure strategic board games to the “on your feet” out-in-the-open sort, they let us return to ourselves and our people. Therefore, the nation’s diverse cultural inheritance is protected and preserved, leading the cultural heritage of Bangladesh to the thoughts and the hearts of the people for all times in the future.

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