The Thai folk game Nem Con

The Thai Folk Game “Nem Con”, Con throwing is an indispensable folk game in all festivals and Tet holidays of the Thai ethnic group in north west Vietnam. Nem Con is a folk game of the Thai, taking place in spring.

The game is usually held on Tet holiday, or on festival days of harvests. As usual, the local people will set up a pillar of 9 -15 meters high on the flat ground. On the top of the pillar, there is a circle about 50 cm in diameter. Before the game starts, some girls often prepare conglobates in blue, red, etc. and stuff rice, sesame seeds, mustard seeds, or cotton seeds into these balls. These types of seeds express the desire of proliferation and a better life. Everyone wants to have the most beautiful ones in the festival to play this game.

“Con” made by fabric, the fabric scraps cut into squares, with sides of 18cm, diagonal fold the 4 corners together, stuffed inside with cotton seeds or grains of rice expressed the wish of budding. Wires are also sewn cloth, half-arm’s length with one attached to the point of intersection of the center squares of Con. Tua Con also be cut with rags with all colors, then attached to the four corners, and alternate stick, creating symbols such as fly dragons. Thai called “Con Cuong”, bringing belief to dragon where the dragon bring prosperity and happiness.

To prepare for this folk game, the Thai girls often spend some months sewing balls from cloth. Then, they stuff cotton or grass, scraps of fabric and seeds of cotton plants inside the balls and decorate the outside with five colorful fringes. The balls are the same size as big oranges.Players gather on a level field where villagers have planted a tall bamboo tree. A bamboo ring about 30-40 cm in diameter hangs from the tree. Gaudy fabric covers the balls, which the makers have stuffed with rice grains (representing food) and cotton seeds (clothing) along with their hidden desires. A multicoloured tassel decorates the balls.

During the festival, Con is thrown towards the starting point of the river or stream where the Thai ethnic people live. The folk game’s rules are simple and anyone can participate in the festival. The participants are divided into two teams who throw Con at the bamboo ring at the top of the pole. Those who successfully throw Con through the ring will become the winners.

Over the years, with its spiritual and cultural values, the game has been preserved and has become the most popular one of the Thai people.

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