Intangible Cultural Heritage of Asia and the Pacific

Children playing Chillak © Nigora Kurbanova

Chillak Game: To Tip the Tip-Cat into the Air

Traditional games over the centuries have played an important role in the formation and development of personality. They are considered an effective method of bringing up children or transmitting values and culture to the young. Games provide children with opportunities to overcome difficulties, gain life skills, and prepare themselves for the future. They are vehicles for teaching ideas of freedom, independence, and love for country. Moreover, games help to develop their physical and cognitive skills of children, enrich their consciousness, stir their imagination, enliven their memory, and develop their professional skills for the future.

Social Essence of Games

Labor was the natural-historical basis for the emergence and development of games. In their original form, games reflected labor and everyday human activities. As production tools evolved and language and thinking developed, games emerged as independent type of activity, being enriched in terms of content. Becoming a relatively independent activity, games were defined by the lifestyle of the society in which they were played. This social lifestyle was echoed not only in the game content but also in the objectives focused on bringing up children according to the rules and customs of that particular society. In advanced societies, the role of games in bringing up younger generations becomes important since it affects the children’s world outlook.

Historical Origin of Games

Games depend on seasons and climatic conditions. One ancient Uzbek game was a ritual hunting game, during which people practiced a forthcoming hunt while demonstrating their skills and bravery. Traditional games were based on the means of expression used in the games, and they can be classified as follows: intellectual games, requiring reflection; verbal games, representing a colloquial genre where words are the main vehicle; song games, including original round dances in the form of games; dancing games; and dramatized games, reflecting the most impressive and interesting moments of life; and active games, being considered a competition of experience and the powers between two or more opposing parties. Traditional games also often included animals, such as dogs, quails, birds, and horses.

Chillak

Chillak is mainly played by children in a green area or sports field, but this game does not require any special game field, and there is very little preparation. One only needs a small tip-cat of 20 cm, a long stick of 80 to 100 cm, and a small hole in the ground.

Chillak can be played either by two people or a group. Before the start of the game, a referee draws lots to determine who begins. The beginner puts the tip-cat on the edge of the small hole. Then using the long stick to tip the tip-cat into the air, the player kicks the tip-cat to send it as far as possible. Opponents standing on the opposite side of the pitch try to catch the flying tip-cat. However, this is difficult to do. If the opponents do catch the tip-cat, then they try to throw it back to its initial starting point in the hole, or to the distance of the long stick. If the toss is successful, the person who caught and threw the tip-cat gains the right to try to kick the tip-cat.

However, if the person is unable to toss the tip-cat the distance of the long stick into the hole, the original kicker picks up the tip-cat and throws it as far as possible, and the person who unsuccessfully tossed the tip-cat must hold his or her breath while fetching the tip-cat. This is repeated until the rivals are able to successfully return the tip-cat to the hole at a distance equal to the long stick. If the runner doesn’t hold his or her breath, the player is stopped and the tip-cat is thrown further still. Then, the runner must put the opponent on his or her back while fetching the tip-cat.