Lok Virsa documents Pakistani, Norwegian folk games


Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage), in collaboration with Norwegian Directorate of Cultural Heritage (Riksantikvaren), has published a comprehensive book on ‘Children Folk Games of Pakistan and Norway” under the Joint Institutional Cooperation (JIC) programme between the two countries. The 100-page book contains 24 folk games along with description, number of players, preparations, steps and rules required for each game. It also comprises sketches and photographic representations so as to facilitate the readers to understand easily how to play these traditional games.
Pakistani folk games include Langri pala (one-legged tiger), Kho kho (go go), Pitthoo garam (hot potato), Kokla chhapaki (hide the whip), Geetay (pebbles), Chhupan chhupai (hide and seek), Kikli (joy dance), Gulli danda (spindle and stick), Bantay (marbles), Oonch neech (high low), Kona kona (corner corner), Baraf pani (ice water), Laal pari (red fairy), Per patoonay (blind man’s buff), Gamoona (long jump), Dast janokai (tab and run), Gitth gitth tappan (obstacles race), Nani re nani (granny ‘o’ granny), Laatoo (the top), las pa sar (musical chairs), Stapu, Choori gwazi (bangles game), Cheech makro (guessing game) and Topay (snatch the cap).
Norwegian games given in the book are Kick the tin (hide and seek), Bro bro brille, paradise (hop scotch), Klinkekuler (marbles), Hoppe strikk (French skipping) and Hoppe tau (skipping).
The introductory part gives the readers an idea that it is primarily a book written for children. However, it can also create interest in adults as all people cherish memories of childhood. It lets children peep into the kind of games they play at home or at school. In fact, the games introduced in the book will let children know that they belong to the broad fraternity of the children of the world. A bare reading of the book shows the games played by Norwegian and Pakistani children are the same. A game may have changed its name in case of the Norwegian children who play them out in broad well-paved streets or playing fields, yet methods of playing a game and its different stages have remained unchanged. We can identify the Norwegian game ‘Kick the tin’ with its Pakistani version Chhupan chhupai or, for that matter, compare ‘Bro bro brille’ with Kikli because the two games focus on singing and other movements.
The important thing to remember is that the games played either here or in Norway help children learn method and discipline and what they could gain from them in building future life and careers.
While talking to this scribe, Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javaid who is also a renowned folklorist and craft expert, said, “The book is for all ages because we have to remember that the people of the world were once happy children and as we grow old, we have to return the same spirit of enjoyment and harmony to our children. The book took me back to the days of my childhood and I found myself playing these games with friends and my family members. Some of them are lost in the wide world of opportunities and fame, but they may find some bond in the games that we played together. It may remind them of the grandeur of olden times when we found happiness and quiet around everywhere we looked”.
He also took special mention of his own administrative ministry –National Heritage and Integration Division – for their patronage. He was of the view that this effort on the part of Lok Virsa and Norwegian partners would serve a long way in creating awareness among youth in understanding the cultural heritage of not only Pakistan and but also Norway where a large number of Pakistanis were residing and contributing to the development of Norway. According to Lok Virsa’s sources, the formal launch of the book is expected during the last week of February or in the beginning of March.


  1. Norwegian folk games are also held which represents the culture and Lok Virsa of Some areas of Pakistan. It is amazing to watch and also good to participate in it.

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