Game bịt mắt bắt dê

(bephongngoaidon.com) - A village festival in Vietnam is an opportunity for the locals lớn commemorate their ancestors and the village’s tutelary god & for visitors from all over the country to come và watch. A ritual, a procession, & folk games are the highlights of such a festival. The festival in Cao Trung hamlet, Đức Giang commune, in Hanoi’s outlying district of Hoài Đức features a popular folk trò chơi called ‘Bịt đôi mắt bắt dê’ or “catching a goat while blindfolded”.

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After a whistle is blown lớn start the game, there is shouting and applause for the blindfolded players trying to catch the goat as he runs around inside a fenced enclosure.

Children are allowed lớn climb onto the fence made of bamboo stakes to lớn see more clearly as the adults whistle, scream, and shout encouragement.

Nguyễn Duy Dần, a member of the organizing board, says “catching a goat while blindfolded” is always a big hit at the annual festival of Cao Trung hamlet. Two or three blindfolded people jointly attempt khổng lồ catch a goat within 5 minutes. The winner gets a prize of about 9 USD. Dần said: “if players break the rules, they have khổng lồ start again from the beginning. Anyone can participate, regardless of age or gender. It’s a game for everyone.”

The original trò chơi was played as follows: one player volunteers to lớn be the “goat” & another, the “goat catcher”. Other people khung a circle around the players.

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The goat and goat catcher are both blindfolded with handkerchiefs. The trò chơi begins when the referee yells, “Go!”. The goat can move wherever he or she likes but must occasionally bleat. The catcher listens for the bleats và gropes khổng lồ find the goat. The goat must move quietly to lớn avoid being caught. Since both players are blindfolded, both the goat & the goat catcher must use their ears and wits lớn win.

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Sometimes due khổng lồ distractions by viewers, the goat catchers can turn in the wrong direction & finally catch each other instead of the goat. This creates hilarious moments & prolongs the game. (Photo: Thuy Hang/ VOV5)

The other people try to lớn distract the goat and the goat catcher & make them turn in the wrong direction. This creates hilarious moments & prolongs the game. A new round begins once the goat has been caught. Other players who want lớn join the game may ask to lớn play the goat or goat catcher.

But the game in Cao Trung hamlet is a little bit different. A real goat is used as the goat. This makes the trò chơi much more interesting. A 30-square-meter ring is walled by a chest-high bamboo fence. After one or two hours, the goat gets a break and is fed some food. Dần dần says a pig or a chicken can be substituted for the goat. It depends on the year.

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In this village, ducks are used instead of goats (Photo: news.zing.vn)

Whichever animal it is, it must be carefully chosen in advance. Dần explained in details how a goat is chosen for the game: “goats are carefully selected a month ahead of the festival. We buy goats from Ninh Binh province which is famous for mountain goats. Goats should be billy-goats of up to 50 kilos - at least 40 kg. Players are blindfolded so they can’t see anything. They often mistakenly grab other players. The player can grasp any part of the goat, but they must lift the goat at least 20 centimeters off the ground to lớn be recognized as the winner and end the round. The game is hilarious and the spectators – even the villagers - split their sides laughing.”

Against a steady drum-beat, players hunch their backs their arms stretched in front of them, & move left or right responding to lớn the instructions of nearby supporters. Whenever a player gets close to the goat, the crowd shouts loudly “catch it, catch it”. Sometimes supporters deliberately give wrong instructions so the players stumble và fall or catch each other, causing a sudden outburst of laughter. 24-year-old Lê Đình Hùng said enthusiastically: “I’ve played three rounds. Being blindfolded, I didn’t see anything. I ran in utter disorder. Sometimes I even seized members of the organizing board. It was exciting being cheered by strangers but I only followed the instructions of my supporters.”

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Nearby supporters are trying to instruct the ‘goat catcher’ to catch the trắng goat. (Photo: Thuy Hang)

After a while, the goat with the white fur & the little horns got tired, & Hung, who has played several times before, became the first winner. Smiling, he said:“I caught its rear legs first. I held it tightly & struggled with it for a while before I could lift it off the ground. The goat is so big, I was afraid of being butted in the stomach.”

All expenses for the trò chơi are contributed by villagers. When the trò chơi has few winners, any money left over is donated khổng lồ the village pagoda. This has become a village custom.