Do you know that there are various traditional games played in Qatar, some of which are still played today? In the past, these games were pleasurable, kept people busy, and occupied their brains in addition to providing pleasure. Some games, which were passed down from generation to generation, depicted Qataris’ daily lives at the time.
More than 100 different games are thought to have been played, according to historians and experts, but they gradually disappeared over time. We are all aware of the fact that technology and video games increasingly dominate our lives, but this flashback is a lovely reminder of the classic games that people in Qatar still enjoy and play today. Let’s see our list of the traditional game of Qatar. Let us know whether you still play any of these games with your friends or family or not!
Table of Contents
- 1. Dama
- 2. Laqfa
- 3. Al Teelah
- 4. Carom
- 5. Al Dahrooi
- 6. Sebbah
- 7. Al Gallinah & Matou
- 8. Taag Taag Tagia
- 9. Al Rein
- 10. Busbit- Dead or Alive
- 11. Al Khashesha
- 12. Al Dawama
- 13. Domino
- 14. Al Shakha
- 15. La Tattahadani wa la Atahadak or Don’t challenge me or I wil challenge you
- 16. Natt Al Habl or Jumping Rope
- 17. Hiddo Lemsalsil
A board game called Dama is akin to Draughts or Checkers. According to rumors, Qatari fishermen used to go with the game so they could play it and unwind while at sea. This is mostly played by the elder generation, and some of them are still playing it now in locations like Souq Waqif. It is played with discs of two different colors that alternate on a board with 64 squares (light and dark). Each player begins by arranging their pieces on the board’s second and third rows, on opposite sides. Whoever has the disc with the light color goes first.
A player may move his or her disc one space ahead or one space to either side while playing the game. Normal discs cannot be moved backward by them. The player may leap that piece and remove it from the board if the opponent’s disc is on that square and there is a space on the other side. You can keep going if a series of jumps would remove more discs until all potential pieces are captured. Both players must rationally decide which move will capture the most discs to comply with the rules.
This is a short-duration game that young kids like playing while seated in a circle. The player throws one of the five smooth stones into the air using only one hand while rapidly catching the other four stones to catch the stone that was flung into the air with the others. This can also be played by one person.
3. Al Teelah
A variety of sized glass marbles are used in this multiplayer game. The number of players varies from 2 to 10, with the first player being referred to as Awwal and the second being referred to as Akho Alawwal or the first player’s brother. Akho Toosh and Toosh are the names of the player who comes after that. Being concentrated and shrewd can help the player win this difficult game. To push the opponent’s marbles out of the playing area, the game is played on a flat surface with small holes the size of a coffee cup. One to two hours before sunset, in between the Asr and Maghrib prayer times, is when Teelah is played.
Read More : Teelah: Popular Qatar’s Multiplayer Marble Game
During Ramadan, when friends and family come together, the traditional board game of carom is played. Even though this game is older, both youngsters and adults still find it to be one of their favorites. A hardwood board with four pockets along the edges serves as the game’s playing surface. Two or four players can participate, and they sit on either side of the board or on opposing faces.
Six pieces in alternating colors are put around the queen disc. On the outside circle around it, the remaining twelve pieces are arranged with alternating colors. The player who pockets the Queen receives the bonus point. The other pieces are flicked and pushed into the corner pockets with the striker piece.
5. Al Dahrooi
This game, also known as Dahrooi, entails pushing or rolling a metal wheel, typically a bicycle wheel. With the use of a long stick or a metal wire, the children propel the wheel while running. Typically, young boys in Qatar love this. The game teaches kids how to maneuver, be swift, and drive the wheel deftly till they arrive at the finish line ahead of their competitors.
Sebbah is a game in which boys and girls sit in a circle on sand, facing one another, and play with pebbles or small stones. Each youngster sets three stones in a separate location within a large square that has been sketched on the ground. Each child tries to draw a straight line after the game has begun, and the one who finishes first wins.
7. Al Gallinah & Matou
It is a common multiplayer game that both boys and girls like playing. Two teams compete in this game, which is played with two wooden sticks that are around 15 cm long and tapered at both ends, and approximately 30–40 cm long. The team that scores the most points uses the longer stick as a bat to strike the smaller piece of wood.
Equipment: The game is played using two wooden sticks, each measuring around 15 cm in length and tapered at both ends. Additionally, a smaller piece of wood, approximately 30-40 cm long, serves as the target. The longer stick, often referred to as the bat, is used by the team attempting to score points, while the opposing team tries to prevent them from doing so. The simplicity of the equipment highlights the accessible nature of this traditional game, allowing for spontaneous play and enjoyment.
Scoring System: The scoring system in the traditional stick game involves precision and accuracy. The batting team aims to strike the smaller piece of wood, known as the target, with the longer stick. Successfully hitting the target earns points for the team, with different areas of the target carrying varying point values. The specific scoring rules may vary, but the objective remains the same: accumulate the highest number of points through skillful strikes and strategic placement of the hits.
Unifying Nature: One of the remarkable aspects of this traditional stick game is its ability to bring together boys and girls, fostering inclusivity and camaraderie. Both genders actively participate in the game, breaking traditional gender barriers and promoting equal engagement in recreational activities. The game serves as a unifying force, encouraging teamwork, communication, and respect among players.
Cultural Significance: The traditional stick game holds cultural significance as it reflects the values and heritage of the Qatari community. Passed down through generations, the game serves as a link to the country’s rich cultural tapestry. It not only entertains but also preserves traditional forms of play and fosters a sense of belonging and identity. The game’s popularity and continued practice highlight its importance in preserving Qatari cultural heritage.
8. Taag Taag Tagia
This is also known as the well-known game in the west known as Duck Duck Goose. One person sprints around them while singing a unique song called Taag Taag Tagia as the players of this entertaining multi-player game sit in a circle facing each other with their eyes closed. The player will drop something—typically a cap (ghitra)—and sprint off. The player behind whom it was left must either circle back and take a seat in the open space or pursue the first player, aiming to catch him. The game must be restarted for whoever is left standing after that.
9. Al Rein
This is a team sport that requires speed as well as strength, agility, lightness, and quick wit. Two teams, each with a distinct number of players, compete. First, the players gather flat stones and stack them on top of one another. After that, they identify a spot that is typically 1.5 meters away from the stone stack. The winning team is then selected by a raffle to go first.
The player from the winning team goes first and must hit the stone stack with a ball while attempting to knock down as many stones as possible. The second team tries to gather the fallen stones and stack them as quickly as they can on top of one another as the first team tries to run and capture the ball. The second team then plays one more after all the stones have fallen. This game is played again and again with more than just two teams.
10. Busbit- Dead or Alive
Boys used to learn how to hold their breath for as long as possible by playing this game. This assisted them during the oyster season to gather pearls and was also a practice for them to become the best divers. Boys typically play this game, not girls. The first player to go covers his head with the ghitra while the game is played in a hole excavated in the sand near the shore. When the first player asks, “Is Busbit dead or alive?” the other players throw sand on top of him or her. The next player takes their turn after the first responds “alive” for as long as he can hold his breath before responding “dead.”
11. Al Khashesha
Boys and girls can play this game in which the first player closes his or her eyes, the others vanish at various locations, and the first player must locate them before the others return to the first player’s location. The game must begin over if the first player captures one of them, and it must also begin again if one of the other players returns to this location.
12. Al Dawama
A conical wooden piece, or top, is used in this game, which is played by a group of guys. The top is wound with a string, which is then released, causing the top to spin. The player’s talent is put to the test when they attempt to pick up the spinning top and compete to keep it spinning the longest in their palm.
Domino is a game for 2 to 4 players with 28 tokens distributed and arranged from 0 to 6 with 7 blocks for each number. It is a very well-liked game that is frequently played in a majlis. Professionals play it as well. Calculations are involved, and it’s a sophisticated game between numbers that are revealed and concealed where the object is to figure out and guess what the opponent is thinking.
14. Al Shakha
One of the easiest and simplest games that both boys and girls can play. It is played by children ages 3 and older in a small area and has very simple rules. The kids divide into two teams by drawing lots after they agree to begin the game. While the others play, two kids stay on the ground. The first player sprints from a distance to leap and make it across the stretched legs as the other two players sit facing each other on the ground and stretch their legs. To get a point for their team, the two players extend the other players’ legs and strive to hold them.
15. La Tattahadani wa la Atahadak or Don’t challenge me or I wil challenge you
Young people play this game because it makes them feel brave and strong, and it has these characteristics. A neutral referee officiates the game between two players who are seated across from one another on chairs with a table in front of them. They continue to arm wrestle until the referee declares a winner.
16. Natt Al Habl or Jumping Rope
Girls use a rope to play either the single-player or multiplayer version of this game. The oldest person counts from 1 to 10, the player who the number 10 lands on is eliminated from the game, and they draw lots to choose who goes first while standing in a single line. This continues until just one is left, at which point the game will begin. The first player begins to skip before stopping or falling. Two teams compete in the online game. Following the draw, two players from each team hold the rope on either side while two or more players from the other team jump it until one of them becomes fatigued, trips falls or otherwise loses balance. This continues till the timer goes off.
17. Hiddo Lemsalsil
The big-horned sheep is what the game’s name symbolizes. The first participant in this game squats on the ground and raises his legs while being supported by one of the other players. When the player holding the leg notices an opening to move away from him and pursue the other players, he attempts to pounce on them. When a player is caught, he turns into the sheep, and the game starts over.
Did you know that Qatar started these games? How many of these games can you recall playing or having played?