Traditional Children’s Games in Brazil

Like most countries in the world, Brazil is home to a number of traditional children’s games, both indoor and outdoor. Many Brazilian children’s games are quite simple and don’t require any kind of special equipment or training for participation. Similar games are found in other parts of the world, but the games listed here are specific to Brazil.

Queimada
Queimada, the Portuguese word for “burned,” is a popular game similar to dodgeball that’s played on a wide, open field. To play, form two even teams and divide the players on each half of the field, similar to how you would in “capture the flag” or dodgeball. At each end of the field mark an area called the “cemetery” and place one player from each side inside their team’s cemetery. The game begins when one of the players in the cemetery launches a ball to the other side of the field. Members of the opposing team try to catch the ball and throw it at a player on the side from which the ball was launched. If a ball strikes a player, he is “dead” and must spend the remainder of the game in the cemetery. The game finishes when all of the players on one side are “dead.”

Cinco Marias
Cinco Marias is a simple kid’s game played with five flat stones. The game is very similar to jacks or tiddlywinks. The player places five stones in a small area on the ground. The player then picks up one stone and tosses it into the air. Before that stone hits the ground the player must pick up one of the remaining four stones. The next round, the player must pick up two stones before the first one hits the ground. The game continues like this until the player is able to pick up all four remaining stones before the first stone hits the ground. The first player to collect all four stones successful is the winner.

Hit The Coin
Hit The Coin is another popular game among Brazilian children that requires steady aim and concentration. To play, fix a short bamboo stick or dowel (12 to 18 inches in length) into the ground so it doesn’t move. Draw a small circle about 5 inches in diameter around the stick and place a small object (coin, bottle cap, toy soldier, etc.) on top of the stick. Players then take turns trying to knock the small object off of the stick by throwing coins at it. To win the player must knock the small object completely out of the circle.

Traditional Games Japanese Children Play

One way to help children connect with Japanese culture is to play traditional games Japanese children play. Japanese children still play many traditional games, some of which have been around since the 1600s. You can start with some of the traditional games Japanese children play that many of us are already familiar with, such as origami (decorative paper folding) and kite flying. Then, move on to some traditional Japanese games that are less familiar to many of us.

Fuku Warai
Fuku Warai is traditionally played by Japanese children on New Year’s Day. To play, cut out a large drawing of a woman’s face without any facial features. Cut out pictures of facial features from different paper. Have children sit in a circle around the face. Blindfold one child, and place the cutout features in front of her. The blindfolded child tries to place the eyes, nose, and mouth while the other children call out directions and encouragement. When the child is done, take off the blindfold and let him see his handiwork, then let another child try.

Beigoma
Beigoma is traditionally played by Japanese boys. Cover the open end of a large bucket with canvas. The canvas should be secured taut to the bucket. Each player is given a spinning top (hand spun or chord spun tops are both used). Tops should be distinctively marked, so you will know which top belongs to which player. Players all spin their tops on the canvas at the same time. The last top spinning on the canvas is declared the winner. Tops falling off the canvass are disqualified.

Hanaichimonme
Hanaichimonme is a group outdoor game. Divide the children into two equal groups. The two groups hold hands with the members of their own group. The two groups face one another. Each team picks a players they would like to “win” from the other group. Then, those two players play jan-ken-pon (better known to many of us as rock, paper, scissors). The loser leaves his team and joins the other team, while the winning team takes a step forward and sings out “We are happy we won this round”; the losing team takes a step backwards and sings “we hate to lose.” The entire process is repeated until all of the players are in one group.

Traditional Games German Children Play

Introduce your kids to these traditional games German children play and see if they don’t discover a new favorite. The rules are easy to follow and hearken back to simpler times. Play these as part of a larger theme party (complete with traditional German treats) or let them stand on their own.

Topfschlagen
In English, “Hit the Pot.” This is a traditional German game small children play. Hide a pot containing a small present or piece of chocolate. The child who is “It” closes his eyes or is blindfolded and is given a wooden stick. He crawls on the floor, banging the spoon on the floor until he finds the pot. Spectators can help by shouting “hot” or “cold.” When he finds the pot, he gets to keep what is inside. The pot can be hidden again and the game replayed for remaining children.

Schokoladenessen
This “chocolate eating” game is another traditional favorite. Wrap a bar of chocolate in several layers of newspaper and tie with ribbon. Place the chocolate in the center of a table along with a hat, scarf, mittens, fork and butter knife. Each player rolls the die once, trying for a six, and play proceeds clockwise. If a player rolls a six, he puts on the hat, scarf and mittens and attempts to open and eat the chocolate with the fork and knife until another player rolls six and takes over. This fast-paced game continues until all the chocolate is eaten.

Koffer packen
Koffer packen means “Packing a suitcase.” Children sit in a circle and pretend to “pack” a suitcase. The first child says the first item (for example, pajamas). The second child says the first item and adds an item of her own. This continues around the circle with each child repeating the list and adding another item to the suitcase. If a child makes a mistake, she’s out. The last child remaining wins a treat.

Katz und Maus
The “cat and mouse” game is played by larger groups, typically on the playground. One player is Katz and the other is Maus. The rest of the children form a circle and hold hands. The cat tries to catch (touch) the mouse. The mouse can run anywhere, including into or out of the circle. The circle helps the mouse by raising their arms to let the mouse through, or lowering their arms to try to block the mouse.

Familiar Games
German children also play familiar playground games such as hide and seek (“Verstecken”), kick the can (“Dosenfussball”), tag (“Fangen”), and hopscotch (“Hupfspiel”).

Gender Issues in the Chinese Culture

Within Chinese culture, women have consistently held a lower hierarchical status than men. Religious and philosophical Chinese thought, especially Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, held women in a submissive state. The contemporary Chinese woman has much greater opportunity and equality than her counterpart during the days of foot-binding, but contemporary Chinese culture still leans in favor of men.

Yin Yang and Religious Belief
The Taoist “yin yang” symbol consists of the black, feminine “yin” and white, masculine “yang.” The yin stands for passiveness, illustrating the Taoist belief that women play a passive role in society. The yin yang also symbolizes balance, however, meaning that men and women must act as complements, balancing one another equally to maintain order.

Confucianism presents a much stricter picture of women in Chinese society. Confucius placed women at the low end of a patriarchal familial structure, and later teachings based in Confucianism, such as Ban Zhoa’s “Lessons for Girls,” further confirmed that status. The advent of Neo-Confucianism only imposed greater restrictions on women.

Historic Treatment
During the Song Dynasty, 960-1279 CE, the already strong patriarchal structure of Chinese culture gained immense strength. This period introduced the practice of foot-binding, designed to limit female mobility. Women typically had little to no say about their marriage partner, and upon marriage, a woman left her home to live with her husband’s family as a subordinate to her mother-in-law. A Chinese man only counted the number of sons when asked about the size of his family because the family name only survived through the birth of sons. Some families even sold unwanted daughters to wealthy families as chattel, or movable possessions.

Exceptions
A few notable examples of strong women exist within the history of China. One of the most famous literary heroines in Chinese culture, Fa Mu Lan, first appeared in a poem during the Northern dynasties, 420-589 CE.

Between 625-705 CE, Wu Zetian reigned as China’s only female emperor. She promoted Buddhism, which took a less harsh stance toward women in society. The time of her rule even brought relative freedom for women, and she directly challenged Confucian beliefs about women by elevating her mother’s relatives to political positions and by appointing scholars to write about famous women.

Contemporary Treatment: Not Quite Feminism
Confucian principles, including those regarding gender, loosened their grip during the Maoist period, 1949-76 CE. The government emphasized similarities between men and women, even coining the term “iron girls” to describe strong women capable of performing labor-intensive work.

As the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 took hold, though, controversy over class struggle overshadowed gender issues. Society maintained a patriarchal structure, and women found little to no equality in the professional realm. Women progressively moved into the workforce during the 1980s but had lower pay rates and higher rates of layoffs than men, and Chinese society also continued holding women responsible for maintaining their households. Additionally, China formally implemented the “one-child policy” in 1980, which reinforced the culture’s favoritism toward sons, and rates of female infanticide increased as a result.

Chinese Culture Summary

Different countries have different societal structures, cultural norms and ways of forming relationships. China has strong traditions and moral values, borne out of a long history.

Food
In China, food is an important part of life. Sharing a meal is the common way to socialize in the same way that Westerners may go to a bar or pub for a drink. Furthermore, there is a strong ‘waste not, want not’ ideal that makes for a range of interesting dishes. Rice and noodles are the two staples in the Chinese cuisine and are comparable to the use of bread in Western culture. Both of the dishes have a long history. China was one of the first centers of rice cultivation and noodles have been eaten since the East Han Dynasty (25 AD to 220 AD). In Chinese tradition, five grains of rice are seen as more important than pearls or jade, and noodles are seen as a symbol of longevity.

Language
Mandarin is the official language of China and has been recognized as one of the seven United Nations languages. It is based on the dialects spoken in Northern China, particularly around Beijing. There are over 80,000 Chinese words although only 30,000 of them are in daily use. Mandarin is written in characters, originating from the Shang Dynasty (16th century BC to 11th century BC). There are two versions of characters, traditional Chinese, used in Taiwan Province and Hong Kong and simplified Chinese, used in Mainland China. There are also a range of official and unofficial dialects such as Hakka, spoken in Guangdong Province, and Wu, spoken in Zhejiang Province.

Morals and Values
Chinese culture has a range of morals and values.

Humility and respect are very important in Chinese culture. Individuals are expected to treat each other well and to show modesty when discussing successes or not discuss them at all.

In China, people think about ideas in a collective sense, often considering how their actions will affect their friends, neighbors and colleagues before making a decision. Decisions are more commonly made for the greater good as opposed to personal gain.

The Chinese are strictly bound by protocol and so it is better to ‘save face’ by respecting and honoring the opinion of others, even if you believe what they are saying is incorrect, than to demand that others agree with your way of thinking.

Religion
There are two main religions in Chinese culture.

Taoism, also known as Daoism, is based on the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, which was written in China in the 6th century BC. The emphasis is on finding spiritual harmony within the individual.

As it is in many far eastern countries, Buddhism is the dominant religion in China. This began in India 2, 500 years ago and follows the teachings of the Buddha, “The Enlightened One.” In China, Mahayana Buddhism is particularly common. In this form of Buddhism the path to liberation involves religious ritual, meditation and devotion.

Social Structure
China has a hierarchical and formal social structure. For example, in the family, children are expected to respect their elders with the eldest family member commanding the greatest respect.

How to Culture Pearls

Few things are as classic and timeless as pearl jewelry. Nowadays, most pearls are cultured through a painstaking process known as pearl farming. It is a method that requires an equal combination of skill and luck. Here is how to culture pearls.

Find an ideal location at which to raise pearl oysters. Your location will determine whether you will be culturing freshwater or saltwater pearls. Ideally, the location will have excellent water quality and be away from reefs. There should be as little silt and cloudiness as possible.

Obtain your pearl oysters. This can be done by collecting adult specimens in the wild and/or breeding. Oyster breeding is the most common practice employed nowadays.

Set up the farming area for the pearl oysters. There are various methods that can be used, including the Tahitian long line method and underwater trestles. Combinations of various methods are sometimes used.

Keep the oysters and lines clean, while they go through the process of maturation.

Consult a grafting technician. This is the person that will implant the foreign object (usually a shell bead) into the oysters around which the pearls will be formed. This is a surgical process known as nucleation, and should not be attempted by anyone without knowledge of the procedure.

Tend to the oysters carefully while the pearls form. Some oysters will reject the foreign objects, and still others may die during the process. This is where the luck factor comes into play. Be patient, as the process of pearl formation can sometimes take a couple of years.

Harvest the pearls when the nacre layer is about 3 mm thick. Oysters which produce high-quality pearls can be nucleated a second time for a new harvest.