Come Get Your Gonggi On!

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photo by G.D. Smith

The 2017 Dragon Boat Festival is pleased to announce the expansion of our  children’s activities and games to include a variety of authentic Asian children’s games.  Learning the games of other cultures is both educational and fun. They also give kids the opportunity to get to know one another by playing together in a beautiful setting instead of staring into a screen. Parents and grandparents may enjoy revisiting their own childhoods and sharing their memories.    

Among the games to be introduced in our dedicated children’s section will be Gonggi, an easy to learn Korean children’s game that has been popular for generations.    In  the Philippines a similar game is known as  Siklot.  In China it is called Knucklebones or ( 抓拐 (ZHUĀ GUǍI). The western version is known as Jacks.   The  Korean version was originally played with small grape-sized pebbles, but today’s Korean children now use pieces of plastic known as “Gongittdol” (the plastic is also a bit safer with especially rambunctious children).   The Chinese version was originally played with the joint bones from small animals (possibly saved from the dinner table).

“One practical value of this game is that  as children become adept at the game their fingers become more developed. In ancient times, this game was strongly encouraged among young girls to practice the nimbleness of their fingers. The nimbler their fingers, the more skilled they would be at the loom and embroidery.” Exquisitely embroidered silk and other delicate fabrics we see in our stores today may very well have evolved from by young girls in Asia playing Gonggi, Siklott and Knucklebones.

Please join us at the Koka Amphitheater in Cary on  September 23 for Gonggi, dragon boat races, cultural performances, Asian food, and more.  Remember, all children are admitted free with accompanying adult.  Come on out and  get your Gonggi on!



by Gregoria Smith