The culture of Maldives is an amalgamation of various other cultures. Some of the traditional practices constitute elements of other origins but are unique in their own special ways.
As we are currently going through a challenging time, it is vital for families to come together and engage in thought-provoking and interesting games and activities to keep the worries at bay.
Today, we will take a look at some traditional Maldivian games and activities everyone can be a part of.
• Gan’du Fillaa
Gan’du Fillaa is an easy and simple game that several generations of people have enjoyed. It is often played indoors and requires readily available items in the house. The rules, customs and the sing-sung words announced by the guesser have barely changed over the last few years.
The objective: Guess who is hiding inside the “gan’du”
Equipment: Bed, a big blanket, pillows and any other items
Number of players: 3+
How to play: One person steps out and away from the main playing area, often a bedroom. That would be called the “guesser.” When he steps out, the remaining players decide who should hide inside the blanket, which is called the “gan’du.” The others assist in putting pillows and any other items around and on top of the person laying down, before covering him with the blanket. Once it is done, the remaining players hide in various parts of the room. Usually, the players hide inside the bathroom or closet if the room does not have any other hiding spots. Anyone can call upon the guesser to come back. The guesser comes back and sings “gan’du heley heley heley” and when he does, the person inside has to shake but he cannot utter a single word. Then, the guesser guesses who the individual is. If he gets it correct, he gets to join the team and the person inside the gan’du becomes the new guesser. If he gets it wrong, he has to go back and a new round starts again.
• Thin Hama
Thin Hama is a strategic board game. Traditionally, the grid would be drawn on a wooden square and players would use “boli” (shells) and “madhoshi” (a red seed) from “madhoshi gas” (Adenanthera Pavonina) commonly found in the Maldives. It is a game that has existed for several generations, with our forefathers having stories of their forefathers teaching them this thought-provoking game.
Objective: To make 3 in a row in order to get the opponents pieces
Equipment: A grid, 9 pieces of any 2 items (buttons, shells, seeds, pebbles, two different colored paper cut into circles, etc)
Number of players: 2
Preparation: Get a piece of paper and draw the grid. There are 3 squares – the outer, middle, and the inner square. Connect them with a line from each corner and from the middle of each side.
How to play: Each player gets a turn to place their items on the grid one-by-one until all 18 pieces are on the board. These pieces can be placed anywhere the lines intersect, but not 3 in a row until all pieces are on the grid. Once the pieces have been placed, take turns to move the items vertically and horizontally, but not diagonally along the grid. You can only move the pieces to an empty intersection. Once the player gets 3 in a row, they can remove any 1 piece from the opponent and continue, letting the opponent start off. The player wins when the opponent has only 2 pieces left on the board.
• Dance steps for Bodu Beru
Bodu Beru literally translated to big drums in Dhivehi – “Bodu” for big and “Beru” for drums. Bodu Beru songs are usually performed by 5-7 individuals with drummers and singers who provide backing vocals accompanied by various other instruments and the main singer. However, the most noticeable part of Bodu Beru performances would be the dancers who display distinct steps for different songs; there are no strict rules followed but a basic pattern exists for all types of songs.
The feet, hands and body.
• The feet move to the beat of the drums. Every beat is a step forward, to the side or the back. These steps can be used to turn, walk or even move around.
• The hands accompany the feet – swaying and moving to the beat of the drums. It can be moved to the voice of the singer as well.
• The rest of the body can be utilized to accompany the other parts. You can move your hips, lean down, and twist and turn to support your flow.
Dancing to Bodu Beru would be completely letting go of yourself and surrendering to the beat. All Bodu Beru songs start slow, but gradually increase and end with a very fast drumming session where the performers and viewers can dance in any way they want. The beauty of this is that there is no right or wrong way to do it – the main purpose of Bodu Beru is to let go, enjoy and have loads of fun.