Commentary, Customs

Changing Games Excite Cuzco’s Children

A Boy Playing with a Top

During the year, Cuzco pumps and jumps to a whole series of fiestas and celebrations. They are like a calendar of change with each coming when it is supposed to and bringing its own dances, music, and fun. This is true not just of the city as a whole, but for each of its districts, as well as organizations and families. With this bouncing array, people have something to keep them happy as they say “salud” (cheers) and drink their chicha or beer to the sound of music saturated with memory.

Just as Cuzco thrills with its shifting round of feasts that occupy its grown ups, so too it kids anxiously await the changing months, not so much for the feasts, but for the games that appear and disappear along with them.

Jacks Ready to Play Photo: Wayra)
Jacks Ready to Play Photo: Wayra)

To make sense of these changes we will list the changes in expectations and games according to the advancing months.

January is a month filled with activities for children. From the time they wake up they take advantage of their vacation from the classroom. The boys spend their days outside struggling with each other in soccer games, while the girls spend time playing jacks, with their ball and stars. Here in Cuzco we call them llajes.

In February the kids get all excited for the coming of Carnival with its games. Boys and girls compete to try to wet the other gender as well as their rivals. They throw small balloons filled with water, or they carry buckets of water into the streets and seek victims.

The main Day of Carnival is the second Sunday of February. On that day, everyone without exception plays in their house, the streets, as well as in the Plaza de Armas.

Playing Competitive Marvels (Photo: Wayra)
Playing Competitive Marbles (Photo: Wayra)

In March, after good vacations, the children return to the classrooms and continue with their school work. They enjoy their recreos, their breaks from study when they get to play, Boy tend to play tiros, a game with marbles. played in teams. The name means |shots. With your marble you try to knock another marble out, while holding your hands above your shoe. With the same marbles, the boys play other games, such as charas and carambolas.

April is the time for playing taps (chipis). These are medium sized, plastic rounds with two sides. The game consists of knocking over the taps of your friend by throwing the disk with you hand. Both boys and girls play this game.

While in May, kids continue playing the same games as in April, by june and the dry season, they pay tops with great vigor. Tops are played with in all the schools and neighborhoods. To get the top to spin (dance) you need a cord to wrap around it. The game is to see if you can knock you opponents top from the olla (pot) into the kuti (line of return) while relying only on your top.

For July there are no games in the schools, since in this month is celebrated the national festivities (Independence Day and everything with it). Instead all teh school children have to practice, over and over, marching and dancing in order to parade before the city as part of the events.

Filling water in a Balloon
Filling water in a Balloon (Photo: Wayra)

The wind comes with strength in August. As a result kids get out their kites, or make them, send them into flight. Even little kids go into the hills where they can get their kites to go up high, to an almost unimaginable height.

In October, kids cannot wait for the end of the month, the 31st, when they celebrate Halloween (the night of witches). Once it begins to go dark, they go out in costumes, accompanied by their parents. Wherever they knock on a door or ring a door bell they ask for candy.

November the boys play football (soccer) and the girls volleyball while waiting for the month to pass.

After having enjoyed the course of the entire year, kids are excited in December for the coming of Christmas. They wait for their presents until midnight on the 24th. Also, for new years, their family says good bye to the old year by burning their old clothes which enthuses children with the delights and possibilities of the new year.

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