Traditional Games in Kuwait

Instructor: Brittney Clere

Brittney, a National Board Certified Teacher, has taught social studies at the middle school level for 15 years.

Just as words and food change as they pass between cultures, so do the games people play. In this lesson, we'll look at Kuwait's traditional games and the spin they take on games from other parts of the world.

Traditional Games of Kuwait

Kuwait is a small country located in Western Asia right on the tip of the Persian Gulf. Despite having a harsh desert climate with extremely hot summers and land heavily damaged from the Iraqi occupation in the 1990's, the government has been able to cover much of the dry land with grassy parks where you can spot people playing soccer, basketball, and tennis. The Kuwaiti also like to spend time at the numerous amusement parks, arcades, gymnastic studios, and swimming pools.

Sometimes, however, the people of Kuwait forgo the modern entertainment to enjoy the country's more traditional games. Let's take a look at a few of these.

Al-lagsa

You will probably see the similarities that the Kuwaiti game Catching, or Al-lagsa, has with the more commonly known game of jacks. In jacks, players bounce a ball while grabbing up more jacks than the other players. In Al-lagsa, the objective is to catch more small stones than your opponent. The game begins with a player tossing just one stone in the air and catching it. If they succeed, then they will toss two. Each time a player is successful at catching the stones, then they add one more stone until they end up tossing five at a time. If at any point, the player allows one or more stone to fall to the ground, then it is the next player's turn.

Taq-taq-taqiah

The rules to Taq-taq-taqiah, (also written as Tak-Tak-Takiyya) are much like those of the popular game Duck, Duck, Goose. In Taq-taq-taqiah, one child runs behind the other players who are all sitting in a circle. The runner is carrying a cap called the Taqiyah and singing. Instead of yelling ''Goose,'' as in the more commonly played game, the player instead places the taqiyah behind one of the players in the circle. As soon as this second player notices, he jumps up and chases after the first player, trying to catch him before he makes it back to the second player's spot in the circle. If he can't catch him, then the first player is the winner, and the game continues with the second player now carrying the cap.

Taq-Taq-Taqiah is similar to Duck, Duck, Goose.
Duck Duck Goose

Al-Haila

Al-Haila is similar to the beloved British game of Hopscotch. In the Kuwaiti version, six squares, called houses, are drawn on the ground. One player throws a stone into a square and jumps to it. If they reach it and successfully land inside the square, then they own that house. If they land outside of the square, however, they lose their turn. The game continues until one player owns all the houses.

Hopscotch boards are similar to Al-Haila boards.
Hopscotch

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