Games  (collected from Internet)


   - Human chess (“cờ người”)

Human chess is a traditional game . It is a chess played by people who take on the roles of the various chess pieces (king, knight, soldier and so on).

Human chess played follows the general rules of Chinese chess. The chess, with a board and pieces  each of them marked with a distinct Chinese character. In the game, there are 32 people in all. One side consists of 16 boys and the other of 16 girls. Each team wears a different colour.

The chessboard is marked by paint on flat ground. Village festivals usually use the yard in front of a communal house or pagoda or a nearby field. Organisers select players plus a referee well in advance. All should be children of families with a good reputation. The referee and the two generals should come from wealthier families so they can treat their players to food. As the selection finishes, the referee convenes the 32 people, describes the costumes, and tells each person how to move as a chess piece. Players may sit on chairs and wear hats if it is sunny. They either wear boards with the Chinese names of their pieces or carry sign poles with the characters. The generals wear traditional costumes. The two contestants who direct the pieces have their own seats outside the board.

The atmosphere often become bustling with the human chess competition. In the early morning, many people gather and wait for the competition. There is often three drum-rolls signalling the start of the game. Two players in Vietnamese traditional dresses appeared, sitting on two high platforms behind chessmen. The first player starts the game by shouting and a chessman left the position to perform martial arts techniques before reaching another position on the chessboard. The second player’s turn, he also shouts and his chessman moves and performs beautiful skills of martial arts. They in turn play the game. If one of them lost his chessmen, these have to leave the chessboard. The spectators triumphantly cheer whenever there is a nice performance, making chessmen try their best to show their skills. After nearly two hours, the human chess competition finishes. However, the spectators often do not want to go home, they would like the organising board to continue the game. 

Tet holiday is coming soon and the human chess is often held on this meaningful occasion. Why don’t you participate in and enjoy the warm atmostphere? Surely that you will be attracted by the game’s quietude and delicacy, totally in contrast to some other games practiced at festivals.


        - Flying kites

 Kite flying (Diều sáo) are Vietnamese kites that make music, so interesting! If you are in Vietnam, you will have a chance to fly the interesting “diều sáo”. Kite flying is popular throughout the year, especially in summer. Vietnamese people of different ages make kites of many shapes, sizes, materials and with bamboo flutes. “Diều sáo” not only attract people by their shapes and colours but also by their flutes. Every afternoon, when the wind tenderly blows, they will play “dieu sao” to enjoy so magical sound created by the flutes.

How to make Flying kites (diều sáo)?

“Diều sáo” are built in a traditional Vietnamese style, with eight ovoid wings attached, plus five bamboo flutes in graduated sizes, which are mounted on top and make a pleasing drone when the kite is flying. The faster the kite swoops, the more magical the sound of the flutes is.

Children's kites are often small, simple and covered with paper, while adults' kites may be more complex, cloth-covered, and feature one or more wind flutes that play melodies as the kites fly.

A typical adult's kite has four parts: the body, the steering string, the flying string and flutes. The frame is made of the smooth outer bamboo stalk and is well polished. Kite-makers shape bamboo straps into a crescent two to three metres long and one metre wide. After that, they cover the frame with pieces of cotton cloth or carefully glued paper. If one half of the kite is heavier than the other, the steering string will help balance it. This string also serves to direct flight and protect the kite wings from breaking if the wind is too strong. The flying string is also made of bamboo and can be as long as 100m to 150m. Young bamboo straps the size of chopsticks are tied together, then boiled in water or even in traditional Chinese medicine and salt so that the string becomes soft and flexible. Flutes of different sizes and materials can make the sound of birds, car horns, gongs or music. The mouth of the flute must be skillfully carved so that it can properly receive the wind and create the desired sound.

Today, villagers build more sophisticated kites in the shape of phoenixes, butterflies and dragons. They replace thick bamboo strings with thinner bamboo or plastic rope. Modern kites are very light and cost little since the materials to make them are readily available.

How to fly “diều sáo”?

The Vietnamese often fly “diều sáo” in the late afternoon as the sun begins to set. Normally, two people fly one kite. One person holds the flying string while the other takes the kite and runs into the wind until the wind lifts the kite. Both of them keep the kite high in the sky from day to day, even from summer to autumn.

Every year, kite-flying competitions take place in many northern and central provinces in Vietnam. The rules vary from place to place. In general, the most beautiful kite with the most interesting flute melodies wins. In particular, Quang Yen Townlet (Quang Ninh Province) holds a kite-fighting competition: regardless of design, kites that hit or break other kites will win.

Estimated to be some 2,000 years old, “diều sáo" are so popular in Vietnam nationwide, where kite flying is seen as a sport, hobby and a religious custom.


     - Swings (đánh đu)      

    This   has been a traditional game at Vietnamese village festivals for centuries. The game is most popular in the northern delta, especially along the banks of the Duong River in Bac Ninh Province. Residents in many villages around Hanoi, including the ancient capital of Co Loa, also set up swings during spring festivals.

The Complete History of Dai Viet (“Dai Viet su ky toan thu”) states: "In the Ly Dynasty, in spring or the first lunar month, boys and girls get together and play this game". Villagers usually build their swings on a dry, harvested rice paddy near a communal house. The area should be large enough for spectators to stand around all four sides.

 The most common Vietnamese swings involve a wooden platform, not a seat. One or two people stand on the platform and swing themselves high in the air, even tens of meters, until their bodies are almost parallel to the ground. Their goal is a prize hanging from the top of the swing's frame.

Playing tools

The frame of the swing is constructed of solid bamboo. The handles are also made of bamboo that is straight, without knots and wide enough for a person's palm. The swing's platform must be close enough to the ground that players can jump on easily.

To ensure safety, builders must choose the right bamboo, for young bamboo is weak, while old bamboo is less elastic and tends to break. They seal their completed frame with paper and invite an elderly villager to check its quality. If the frame meets his standards, he will remove the seal. With that, someone beats a drum. He clasps both hands in front of his chest and bows to his fellow villagers. Then, on behalf of the community, he opens the game

How to play the game

Players should dress smartly and neatly. Boys wear red purse-belts and girls greenish pulse-belts over traditional four-panel dresses (“ao tu than”) and then headscarves so their hair won't come loose. Often a boy and girl will swing together.

First, the couple steps onto the swing platform and stands face to face. Then they press their feet against platform floor and bend their knees. Gradually, the swing begins to move like a pendulum. The harder they press, the higher the swing flies, as described in a poem by the 19th-century woman poet Ho Xuan Huong:

“The boy bends his knees
The girl bends her back
The four red panels of her skirt fly in the air
Two parallel lines of stretched legs”

At the height or their swinging, the two almost lie on top of one another. The crowd cheers. As soon as the couple reaches the highest point, one of the two will stretch out a hand and try to snatch the prize. This is the most difficult part of the game, for it requires that both players be calm, clever and acts as a team. They lose if they drop the prize. The crowd is just as anxious, hoping the couple manages to secure the prize as a reward for their long days of practice. There is a note that this type of swinging is not for those who get dizzy!

Let’s once join in the game and you will find it so interesting..


Wrestling is a national traditional art in Vietnam, that attracts many audiences.

The National Wrestling Championship is often held in different provinces in Vietnam on a beautiful spring day. A light breeze blows over the multicoloured traditional flags planted at the four corners of the arena where the finalists of the event are about to compete.

Were it not for the dry rhythm of the drum and the overheated ambiance appropriate for sporting events, the surroundings might be a set for an artistic performance, insofar as Vietnamese traditional wrestling (“dau vat”) resembles dancing. Indeed, the most impressive aspects of this extremely popular sport are its picturesque and well-choreographed qualities.

Wrestlers waiting for the fights to begin sit around a "carpet." There is no ring or rope. Using lime, villagers have drawn a square of around 10m on each side. The audience sits around the square, watching with anticipation as wrestlers rub their sweaty hands on the earth, all the while watching their opponents out of the comers of their eyes.

"Toong! Toong! Toong!" The drum calls two competitors to the fight. Like all traditional Vietnamese sports, a drum, a gong or sometimes both accompany wrestling. The drum adds rhythm and stimulates the athletes. A speaker announces the competitors, who stand up and step forward to the middle of the "carpet." They are barebacked and wear red shorts with a silk belt around their waist, red for one contestant and yellow for the other.

They dance with light footsteps recalling those of birds. Their arms make supple and undulating movements, displaying their musculature. Then go the warm-up stage, a spectacle full of panache and rich in colour. Normally, this lasts two minutes while the drums continue beating. Although the performances vary according to schools of martial arts, ail warm-up dances must match the drum's rhythm. Once the wrestlers have finished their warm-up, the principal referee introduces the wrestlers by raising their arms as in boxing. Then the

wrestlers turn away, facing opposite sides of the arena. The drum resumes with well-spaced rolls. The two adversaries turn, face to face, and shake hands. Then, with hands on their hips, they stare at each in defiance. As the drum gives a dry beat, they turn and step away from each other. They take further steps as the drum continues, this time at a greater and greater speed. With this, the "artistic" part of the match ends. There are no gifts once the fight officially begins. The wrestlers turn around. They bend their backs and, lowering their knees until they almost crouch, extend their arms. Eyeing one another, they advance toward each other as if gliding, preserving their equilibrium for the first strike.

The beating of the drum regulates the fight. The rhythm accelerates as soon as one of the adversaries initiates a hold. It returns to normal once danger has passed, as if the drum wants to let the wrestlers recover their breath and preserve their guard. When a wrestler falls, the rhythm accelerates, becoming more and more pressing. A finishing stroke of the drum puts an end to the combat when the loser's shoulders touch the ground. The winner and loser stand up, applauded by a prolonged drum roll.

Each wrestler has his own holds, passed down by his coach, who is the only person who knows these secrets. The winner is the wrestler who turns his adversary with his "face to the sky" and forces his shoulders to touch the earth. Under modem regulations, a match is composed of three four-minute rounds. But traditional matches often lasted for hours, since the rules did not allow a draw.

Attending the national traditional wrestling championship, you will be able to enjoy the exciting atmosphere, rather like the hot air of a football match.