July 2, 2013


…….holl, banka plav, 7 qar…..- popular games which have recently yielded allowing video games, soap operas or I-don't-know-what to educate and entertain children. You see, the child sits without running, shouting, jumping and sweating and you can manage your time and get things done.
Our ancestors were not that lazy and practiced various games to temper the bodies and souls of little Armenians. These games were to prepare the future soldiers for the Armenian army as many of the games were strength training exercises. According to the Armenian legends, thanks to the games Torq Angegh had ‘a strength of 20 elephants’ and could easily throw rocks on the enemy ships.
Out of approximately 1000 folk games several ones emerge due to their popularity almost in all the regions of Armenia.
Many know about Gyulash & Kokh which seem to be 'brothers' of wrestling. It is not surprising that Armenian wrestlers almost always succeed in the World or Europe Championships or Olympic Games. Here wins the player who makes his rival touch the ground with his back. Traditionally, during the wedding ceremonies the parents of the bridegroom used to hold a kind of Kokh before the young couple. The purpose of such a false fighting is to show the obedience of the father-in- law. At present some remnants of this extraordinary custom can be found in the villages of Kotayq, Ashtarak, Ararat, etc.
Among the Armenian young Lakhtakhagh (Club Game) was of great popularity. 2-20 young men gather in a field, draw a broad circle and get divided in two groups. One of the groups, insiders, steps inside of the circle and the other group called outsiders stands around the circle. Each of the insiders has a lakht near his feet and is to protect it by all means. The outsiders use all the possible means for snatching the lakht. Mockery, blows and pushes are normal during this game.
Frankly, it has never occurred to me that Ksanmek (Twenty-One) is an old Armenian game. Fortunately, this is one of few folk games which are still played almost everywhere in Armenia, though with certain modifications. According to the number of the players, several equal groups are formed. The members of the first group throw up the ball with one foot for 21, then 51, and at last 101 times. Meanwhile the foot with which the player throws up the ball shall not touch the ground. Every section of the game is called palan. The player shall touch the ball exactly 21, or 51, or 101 times, otherwise the points are 'burnt'.
Probably, besides Ksanmek there are 3 other survivors of Armenian games which are widely spread especially in villages- Banka Plav (The Can Crumbled), 7 Qar (7 Stones), and Holl.
For Banka Plav the players need a can put on the ground. Then a straight line is drawn 10 meters away from the can. One of the players stands near the can, while the others stay out of the line and throw their lepuks (flat stones) at the can trying to 'ruin' it. The aim of the insider is not to let the outsiders take away their lepuks and always keep the can upright. The insider can trace the outsiders up to the line, as it is his territory. In case of catching an outsider the latter substitutes the insider.
Seven Stones
Like Banka Plav, 7 Qar is also played both by girls and boys. Two groups play against each other: one group attacks trying to ruin 7 stones put on one another and hitting the rivals with a ball, while the other group makes an attempt to put the heap of the stones on its place and count up to seven. In that case the latter group wins a palan, i.e. a round. If the attacking group grasps the ball, without it touching the ground, that group wins a palan.
Actually, most Armenian games are not individual. Holl is one of those games which can be practiced both by one player and entire groups. For this game the child needs a holl, i.e. a wooden cone-shaped object, with a nail in it, and a rope. 
The player winds the rope around the holl and throws the holl on the ground. The latter begins to rotate. The aim of the game is throw the holl in such a way that it hits another holl while rotating.

And the most patriotic conclusion - Armenian folk games are that part of our culture which can never be substituted by video games, TV, movies, etc. Preserving folk games we preserve ourselves.

Հայերեն տարբերակ http://avagyanp.blogspot.com/2013/07/blog-post.html

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