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Traditional and Popular Hungarian Games

Traditional and Popular Hungarian Games

What are games? When it comes to games, there are a few questions that have dawned on us all since the beginning of time. Here we will discuss some of the most popular Hungarian games as well as why they are so entertaining. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

According to anthropologists, games are part of evolution and are presumed to be among the first elements of culture. In fact, according to an article in the science column of the New York Times, because of our unique way in which we play and understand games, humans are differentiated from other species, which has played a critical role in our evolution. Games such as contact sports may help our physical form while some strategy ones like poker contribute to the cognitive aspect of our development. As mentioned in the article, playing is essential not just to the individual’s evolution but it also represents a means by which humanity inhabits, exploits and modifies the surrounding environment.

The Connection Between History and Games

Nowadays, games represent an opportunity to reconnect with history as well as a way to keep cultural identity alive. The Tocatì Festival, a festival dedicated to promoting and celebrating the traditions of various European countries, with a huge focus on street games, is the perfect example of this concept. The event takes place every year in Verona, Italy, and is organized with the support of the local municipality.

Fina Aristic

In 2013, for its then-11th edition, the festival took on the topic of Hungarian traditions as well as paid tribute to Ferenc Molnár’s book, “A Pál utcai fiúk” (“The Paul Street Boys”).

The Most Notable Hungarian Games

The event included several traditional Hungarian sports, such as botoló, csürközés, ijászat, karikás ostor, kendö, and finally, the Hungarian tambourine. Although some of these are similar to traditional games and sports across the world, there is a Hungarian touch to all of them. Take botoló, for example. To some, it may seem similar to Asian martial arts, but the unique element is the weapon used: the cane. The origin of this game is connected to the life of the shepherds who had to use their cane not only to control the herd but also to resolve quarrels that would occur between them and the other shepherds in the area.

Another game with a similar connection to the past is karikás ostor, meaning the Hungarian long whip, which comes from the pastoral traditions. The whip, which can be up to four meters long, is handled by masters of this sport with such grace that it transforms from a simple tool into a central piece of an entertainment act.

Hungary hungarian tradition

Participants wielding the traditional Hungarian whip.

Íjászat is another sport that exemplifies the richness portrayed in the Hungarian heritage. Simply put, the sport is similar to archery, but for the Hungarians, it is more than that. These skills seem to have been written into their genes, as since the beginning of the Middle Ages when they arrived in the area close the Carpathian Mountains, their skills with the bow and arrow have made them famous throughout the entire European continent.

The Hungarians could not only shoot with clockwork precision but could also ride a horse while doing so.

Today, this sport is played by people of all ages, and competitions are organized throughout the whole country. Even more so, this year’s IFAA European Indoor Archery Championship took place in February in Budapest. Over the years, Budapest has also hosted numerous live poker events in which local players like András Koroknai have dominated at Texas Hold ‘em tables.

Statistic: Turnover of games and toys in specialized stores in Hungary from 2008 to 2015 (in million euros) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

The Great Strategists

The less physical games that are benefiting from worldwide popularity have also made their mark within this Eastern European country. Both in the past and most notably in the present, card games have increased in popularity, either because of the many successful pro poker players from Hungary or the publicity of the game through various platforms. The most popular game that involves a deck of cards is poker, which is true not only in Hungary but also worldwide.

Most people already know the rules of poker and general strategy of the game, regardless of the variant. Such players as Andras Koroknai and Denes Tamas Kalo have also played a role in influencing the popularity of the game within the country, with both being the top-earning poker players from Hungary.

But card games are not the only strategy-based competitions that flourish in Hungary, chess is also quite popular and has many representatives in the worldwide scene.

The Future Can’t Hold That Many Surprises

These are just some examples of games that were too interesting to forget with the passing of time. The fact that competition and the desire for entertainment are rooted deep within human nature underlines the idea that games have been and will continue to be a critical part of both our development and evolution as a species. It seems weird to some, but traditional games and even the common game of poker can help with critical and strategic thinking, improving our overall reflexes as well as our physical and mental state. Unless someone comes up with a different way in which we can have fun while improving our skills, games and sports will forever be a part of our society and will subtly help us expand our imagination and push the limits to new heights.

Source: DNH PR

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