Summer’s here and I’m curious about quali giochi (which games) mamma and Zio Roberto played during their summers nella piccolo comune siciliano di Graniti (in the little Sicilian town of Graniti). Mamma ne pensa (thinks) about it for a moment and mi racconta (tells me) about some of i suoi giochi preferiti (her favorite games). The first one mamma tells me about is Lupo delle ore. Mamma dice (mamma says) the game requires a minimum of three players, but it’s more fun with groups of at least seven players. One player is the “lupo” (“wolf”), and stands with his back to the others, who form a line at a designated distance from him. They players call out “Lupo, che ore sono?” (“Wolf, what time is it?”), and the wolf answers with a number. The players can then take that many steps toward him, and ask again. If, instead of a number, the wolf responds with “Ho fame!” (“I’m hungry!”), he can turn around and try to tag as many of the children as he can before they make it safely back to the starting line.
Regina, Regina Bella game requires a minimum of four players but mamma again says the more kids playing, the more fun it is. One player is chosen to be the “regina” (“queen”), who stands facing the others across the playground. The other children chant:
“Regina Regina bella, quanti passi devo fare per arrivare al tuo castello
con la fede, con l’anello,
con la punta del coltello?”
(“Beautiful, beautiful Queen, how many steps do I have to take to get to your castle with the faith, with the ring,
with the tip of the knife?”)
The queen then calls out both a number and the name of an animal. The children must take that many steps toward her, walking in imitation of the animal named.
The first child to reach the queen wins.
Strega comanda colori is another fun game mamma remembers. Mamma dice that this requires a minimum of three players. Comunque (however) again mamma dice, the more that play the more fun it is. One player is chosen as the “strega” (“witch”), who calls out a color. The others must touch an object of that color, whether it be an article of clothing or something in the surrounding environment, before the witch can catch them. The first child tagged becomes the next witch. If the current witch is unsuccessful, she must call out another color.
Mamma also told me about another game children in Italy like to play. She called it nascondino. As mamma explained this game, I thought to myself, it sounds like the game I see children playing even in America. Then mamma said, “Sara, we play it here to, only we call it “hide and seek.”
Well, I am on my way to nonno and nonna’s house to see my cousin Addy Passaquai. If Addy is not in trouble again, maybe we can play one of these games. Spero (I hope so). Ciao and enjoy you the rest of summer.