People of Punjab entertain themselves in a variety of ways. These include games, dhangals (wrestling bouts), folk songs and dances, kite flying, cock fights, etc. The games in Punjab are suitable for children, youth, adult and old people alike. Many of these games have been lost in the evolution of history, and the ones that remainare losing for perhaps these are not in fashion except a few which still survive.
One of the popular organized forms of work and entertainment for young girls is Tirinjen - where the girls spin and sing. Tirinjen is a kind of social club, which can be organized in any home, where place for spinning wheels and the girls is available for a day/night. The girls would sing and dance, would express their sorrow and happiness, pangs of separation and joy of meeting. The spinning wheel plays a significant role in the life of the women, as a companion, counselor in distress, friend and guide. An example of a song sung by a married girl during Tirinjen:
Charkha mera rangla, vich sone dian mekhan,
'Teej' or Teeans, which is celebrated in the month of Sawan (July), is also a source of entertainment for girls. Teej festival starts on the third day of Sawan and continues for about thirteen days. This is a period when rainy season is at its best, having said good bye to the scorching heat, people are out to enjoy the rains. It is also the time for sowing. The whole atmosphere is relaxed and people have a sigh of relief. The girls celebrate it by having swings. One sees girls, even today, on the swings all over the villages during the rainy season. They have new clothes, special dishes to eat and special songs for the occasion. This festival has also made inroads into the urban society. A number of songs are sung during the occasion pertaining to various aspects of the social life.
Ral auo sahio ni,
Some pebbles, stones or broken earthenware could be broken further into pieces and used for playing Gheeta Pather. This was a game, which did not involve running or jumping and was played sitting on the floor.
The girls would sing along with Khidu (Ball), in fact these rhymes and game is suitable for the children: This was for the first round, there was the second and third till the end was reached by counting ten and singing the tenth song.
This game is popular even today amongst the children. Both boys and girls play it. Children sit in a circles and a child who has cloth in hand goes around the circle-singing: It is a kind of warning for the children sitting in a circle not to look back. The cloth is then dropped at the back of a child. If it is discovered before the child who had placed it there had completed the round, the child who discovered the cloth would run after him and try to touch him with it till he sits in the place vacated by the one who had discovered the cloth.
Chicho Chich Ganerian
This game is for both boys and girls. It is generally played by two teams and involves drawing as many vertical lines as possible.
Lukan Miti (Hide & Seek)
This was also played by both boys and girls and continues to this day. Two teams can also play this. One has to hide, the other has to seek but before doing it a call is given.
This is basically a game for the boys and is the simplest version of modern cricket. It is played with a wooden stick and 'guli' (another small wooden piece pointed at both the ends.) Two teams divide themselves, one throws the guli and the other team uses the danda- (stick) to strike it. There are various other games that are played with Guli Danda
Kidi Kada or Stapoo
This is a game played both by the girls and boys. It is still common amongst some of the children. This game is played with in small boundary (court), drawn on the ground and a piece of stone.
This is another game for the boys. One boy would bend and the other boys, may be one or two or three get on top of him, if he could bear the weight, he would win. In case he could not bear the weight and fell, he would lose.
This game is popular even today and is played now by both boys and girls. This was included in the Asian Games also and is popular all over south Asia. The game is played between two teams. A line is drawn between the two teams and each team would send a player across the line. If the player after crossing the line is able to touch a player of the opposite side and came back without being caught, the team doing so would win and a point was added to its score. This process by the player crossing the line has to be performed in a single breath. The team with higher score would be the winner
Rasa Kashi (Tug of War)
The men generally played this game. These dayís women also participate in the game which is played by two teams. A line is drawn between the two teams, each having one end of the rope in its hands. The team, which is able to drag the other team to its side, is the winning team.
These were very popular. Located near the well outside the village, sometimes near the temple. These were the places where the boys learnt wrestling from a Guru or Pehlwan-Wrestler.
This was also a part of the teaching in Akharas, where the boys learnt the use of weapons. Nihangs practice martial arts to keep up the traditions.
Kite Flying (Patang Bazi)
It is now very much an urbanized game and is popular with the rural folks as well. It has now assumed an International character.
Besides the games mentioned above, Chaupat, Shatranj (Chess), camel and bullockcart races, cock fights in addition to Kabutar bazi, chakore bazi and bater bazi are well known.
LATTOO ( yo-yo), played mostly by the boys.
Today in almost 7000 villages in Punjab in one decade or the other rural sports competitions are being held. Rural folk organize them. In fact these village sports have opened the floodgates of village development.
Before Independence in 1947 major importance was given only to Kabaddi and wrestling, after Independence the circle of rural sports also got widened. The rustic "Khido Khaoondi" (literally a ball made out of cuttings of cloth and a stick twisted at the end like a flat hockey and players from villages, having no facilities beyond uneven grounds to play began to dominate in the game. Twelve of our countryís greatest hockey players have come out of a single village called SANSARPUR in Jalandhar District.