Los Encantados

Main piece: 

The following was transcribed from a conversation between the informant and interviewer. 

Informant: Well a popular game we played back then… I don’t know if you guys play this since everyone is on a screen now but back then we played outside. Have you heard of los encantados?

Interviewer: Oh yes that’s still a thing. I played with my cousins and with my sister in Mexico. 

Informant; Oh that’s good. So you know how it works. Do you want me to still tell you? 

Interviewer: Yeah I want to hear it from you. Can you describe how it’s played? 

Informant: Yeah of course. So you start in a circle and everyone puts their toes in and you do the little song to randomly pick the person who’s it. The other people have one minute to hide and after that minute… the person counting… she ends up or he… he or she starts searching for the others. The person who’s it must touch the person hiding and if they do then they freeze them. So they can’t move until someone else touches them. And the game ends when all the hiders are frozen or tagged. 

Background: My informant here was my grandma who’s staying with us during COVID-19. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico but lives in the U.S. with us for the most part. She says that she did not have a lot of time to play outside because her parents wouldn’t let her out and would keep her busy with house chores, but that los encantados is one of the few games that she did play, especially with her 2 sisters. She’s known this game since she was a teen and encourages us to play outside like this game requires. She does not like that very young kids are on screens all the time. 

Context: On the last day I asked my grandma for any games in particular that she remembers from when she was young. Or a game that is played a lot in Mexico. And she said that she did not know of games but then she remembered los encantados. She proceeded with the game rules while outside. 

Thoughts: I find it curious that this game, which I think is the Spanish version of “freeze tag” still exists because it has been around for a long time. Times change and less and less young kids and teens do outside activities. Most of the time, they find some kind of electronic device to entertain themselves but I loved this game when I was younger. And I still see my younger cousins playing it so I feel like it’s a traditional and simple game that has withstood technological innovation. I find it pretty cool that it’s still known and people still play it.