Handkerchief Game

Everyone, children for this game, sits within a circle, someone goes around holding a handkerchief and everyone chants,
丢,丢,丢手绢. 小小的朋友请你不要打电话快点快点抓住他

Diū, diū, diū shǒujuàn. Xiǎo xiǎo de péngyǒu qǐng nǐ bùyào dǎ diànhuà kuài diǎn kuài diǎn zhuā zhù tā

“Throw throw throw the handkerchief. Little little friends, please can you not call the phone, hurry hurry catch him”

After this, the person outside changes with the person who they were at when the song ended and the new person is handed the handkerchief and the cycle begins anew.

S is an older Chinese immigrant who migrated to the US over 20 years ago. He still has very close contact with relatives in China and regularly participates in Chinese cultural practices.

Context: I interviewed S about Chinese cultural customs and beliefs. This is a children’s game. As such, is typically played by children.

This is a children’s game. Similar children’s games are played in the US as well. Duck duck goose is a very similar concept where children are in a circle and one person must choose who in the circle must get out. The main difference is the power to choose is held within the chooser in duck duck goose while the power is held within the song, making it equal. This is interesting to me because S was born after the Chinese Communist Party rose to power in China. This was during the Cultural Revolution, so many themes of equality were present throughout society. This more equal power sharing could be a result of the Communist Revolution.