Tag Archives: games

Easter Tradition

“A tradition I have is every year for Easter my whole extended family goes to Cabo. Since Easter is on a Sunday and most of us have school the next day, we celebrate Easter on Saturday because we have to leave on Sunday. During the day we hangout and paint and decorate eggs which will be turned into deviled eggs in a couple hours. Then, we get ready for our easter egg hunt which only involves the grandkids. There are eggs sitting on the grass on the floor, however those eggs are only for the very very young kids. Each of us has a basket we need to find and as well as candy eggs and baskets there are golden eggs that contain different amounts of money. Since we are getting older, it is starting to get competitive because we all want the money. My grandpa always gives us some hints and sometimes our parents do too. After the hunt, we all open our baskets then get into teams and play croquet. After croquet, we all have a nice dinner together at the house.”

The informant does this every year on Easter weekend in Cabo, Mexico. Her whole family is involved, including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Her grandpa helps hide the eggs and gives them hints when necessary. Her parents get all of her siblings small baskets, the other parents give their kids baskets as well, which are full of small gifts like bracelets and chocolate. She believes Easter egg hunting has always been a thing for Easter, and her family has been doing this for as long as she can remember.

The tradition is part of the widely held celebration of Easter, the Christian day on which Jesus Christ was said to have risen from the dead after his crusifiction. On this day, it is common for children to hunt for Easter eggs, which are colorful plastic eggs full of candy. This holiday is often spent with family and friends and is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full Moon that occurs on or after the Spring Equinox. Although the holiday is now a large part of the holiday economy and is very consumerist, it started as a celebration of the coming of Spring before it was Christanized. It is celebrated around the world as an important Christian holiday.



The informant is my friend’s mother who grew up in the Bronx in the 1960s. Ringolevio is a game that they’d play in the streets outside their houses, or in the abandoned lots throughout the neighborhood. The informant told me that Ringolevio was her favorite game growing up as a kid.


My friend’s mother told me about Ringolevio over a phone call. We were discussing much of her early life growing up in mid 20th century New York City, and she spoke with particular fondness as she reminisced about Ringolevio.

Main Piece:

KB: Ringolevio was my favorite game. We’d play for hours with all the kids on my street. One house was torn down and there was a big, abandoned lot that we would play it in.

Me: So what were the rules?

KB: Well, there was a chasing team and a running team, like cops and robbers. One area would be marked off up against the fence and that would be the jail. The runners would run around the lot while the chasers would chase after them, trying to catch them. If you caught a runner – you had to try and grab them, usually their arm – you would hold on and yell “Ringolevio, coca-cola, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.” If you could say that while holding on to the runner – the runner would try and break free from your grasp – the runner would have to go to the jail area and be locked up. When someone was in jail, one of their teammates could free them by running into the jail area and tagging their jailed teammate without getting caught.

Me: And the girls played with the boys?

KB: Oh of course, everyone played everything together. We all played for hours, and it was quite rough a lot of the time. The boys were really quite rough with the girls and especially each other. A loooot of bruises and scrapes.

Me: How many kids were on one team?

KB: However many we had as long as there was even numbers.

Me: Were there ever any fights?

KB: No, not a lot of fist fights. The boys would get into arguments and things could get out of hand, but really never any fist fights that I can remember. We mostly played ringolevio at the age before boys started getting into scraps and things like that.


Although we were speaking on the phone, I could deduce that the informant was thoroughly enjoying the flood of memories that was rushing back to her as she described her favorite childhood game. What stands out to me is the lack of tools or objects needed to play Ringolevio. All that is needed is the kids and some open space – no bats, balls, or nets. The prospect of boredom spurs immense creativity in kids looking to avoid it at all costs. Games like Ringolevio are customs that unify the bonds and relationships between kids. Ringolevio also appeared to offer a chance to young kids to win the praise and admiration of their friends, as whoever was the fastest and the best at the game was sure to gain the respect of the other children.

The 11:11 Game

Informant Information – SI

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 20
  • Occupation: Student
  • Residence: Los Angeles, California
  • Date of Performance/Collection: April 20, 2022
  • Primary Language: English

The informant grew up playing this game with their sister. They started playing this game as children and still play when they are together at their parents’ house. This information was shared with me in an in-person interview. 

The 11:11 game is played by the informant and their siblings; they began playing it as children and still play as adults when they are all together at their family home. 

If someone notices that it is 11:11am or pm, they must announce the time and shout out a task, such as standing on a chair or knocking on wood. Everyone that wants to play will then complete the task and then shout out a different task. 

Players should try to complete as many tasks as possible before the minute ends. Playing this game and completing these rituals is supposed to bring the players good luck. 


In this game, the time, 11:11, is ritualized. Participants must perform a prescribed set of actions, hoping that they will produce a desired result, good luck. As in other rituals, the bounds of acceptable behavior become flexible– while it might be strange to stand on a chair at another time, it is encouraged at 11:11.  


Background: Informant was born in the Philippines, on the island of Cebu, to a Filipino mom and a white dad. He sent his childhood in Yap, in Micronesia, but spent a lot of time in the Philippines as a child as well and is fluent in Cebuano, a Bisayan language and grew up playing games with his mother, who was born and raised in Cebu. The following is a children’s game that the informant played as a child, which was then passed down to me when I was a child. We spoke about this game over the phone.

Pito-pito ubod

Kan-on pulos budbud

Sud-an pulos utan

Piesta’s kadagatan!


Seven-seven small fish

Rice all sticky rice cake

Viand all vegetable soup

Fiesta at the beach


Seven small fish

Rice for sticky rice cake

Main course for vegetable broth

Fiesta at the beach

Informant: Pito-pito means seven, and ubod is a small fish. 

Kan-on is rice… ka-on is food, and kan-on is “that which you eat,” which also means food which is kind of silly, but it also refers to rice. Kan-on pulos budbud is “rice for sticky rice-cake.”

Sud-an, when you eat, you always have kan-on (the rise, the base), and sud-an is “the thing which you eat with your rice,” so sud-an could be anything. For example, teriyaki chicken or adobo is both sud-an with rice, which is the kan-on. There’s usually a connotation or implication that there is vegetables. But, sud-an pulos utan is “main course for vegetable broth or soup.”

All the phrases are silly and backwards, really… it doesn’t make sense grammatically. The second and third stanzas would be grammatically correct if they were flipped.

Budbud para kan-on

Utan para sud-an

Piesta’s kada gatan is a fiesta at the beach. Pista’s is really just the “filipinization” if you will of the Spanish word fiestas.

The whole thing is really just silly, but someone would hold out their hand and the other person would put their pointer finger in the center of the other person’s hand. The person with their hand outstretched would sing the lines as slowly or quickly as you want, you can play with the tempo on the first couple lines and then when the line “piesta’s kada gatan!” Is said, the person singing would close their hand while the second person tries to pull their finger away so their finger isn’t trapped.

Thoughts: I remember playing this game as a child, and this is the first I heard of the meaning behind it. I find it interesting that it’s all food-based lyrics, though it’s not entirely surprising as Filipino culture is centered so much around food, but it’s funny that even in a children’s game that’s fairly nonsensical with no relation between the lyrics and the actions, food still is still at the focal point.

Down by the banks

The informant explained that this is a hand game or clapping game she used to play at summer camp in between activities with the other girls who were in her cabin. Her estimate for when people play it is ages 6-12. You learn it by playing and other children explain it to you. She also said that this game” slaps” and would totally play it today.

SD: The song is:

Down by the banks of the hanky panky

Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky 

With an eeps opps soda pops

Hey mister lilypad went kerplops

So, you sit in a circle with a group of three or more typically and each person has their right hand on top of the person to their right’s left hang. So your left hand is under someone’s right hand and your right is on top of someone’s left. Then while you’re singing the song, every word, there’s a beat on every word, where you slap your right hand onto the person to your left’s left hand and you go in a circle until the song runs out and on the last beat kerplop, the person who is hitting is trying to slap the person to their left’s right hand and that person is trying to avoid getting slapped. If you get your hand slapped, you’re out, or if you try to hit the person’s hand but you miss because they’ve moved their hand out of the way, you’re out. And that keeps going until there are two people left. Then the last two people lock right hands and pull back and forth on the beat of the lyrics and at the end whoever pulls the other person toward them wins.

Context: This piece was collected during an in person conversation.

Thoughts: I was surprised when hearing the informant’s version of this clapping game because I played the same game with different lyrics. This is a common game I played in PE and at recess, taught by other children. So it is passed on from child to child through their community. It’s also clear that it exists in multiplicity and variation given that I grew up on the other side of the country and played it the same way, albeit with different lyrics. There also seems to be an oppositional issue that comes to play in children’s folklore as there is a male vs. female aspect of this game that changes; she said she played it with only girls, while I played with both genders.