mud games Tradition / Ritual in The River | World Anvil
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mud games

Every rainy season, the stream that runs through the village swells to a torrent with each downpour. When the water subsides, it leaves two banks of rich sticky mud. On a clear morning after an evening rainstorm, boys and girls of all ages can be found beside the stream below the village, enjoying the entertainment possibilities the mud provides.  It's impossible to exhaustively list every game played with mud, but here are a few of the most popular:

Body Painting

Dipping their fingers into palmfuls of mud, children decorate themselves and others with intricate patterns.  Negative patterns can be made by applying a full coating of mud and then using clean water to wash parts away.  The designs are not long-lasting; the mud either washes away or flakes off when it dries.

Pathway Making

Those who don't like wearing mud may instead create a miniature river in the bank connecting to a hollow dug into the ground just above the high-water mark.  One player with an empty gourd keeps the hollow supplied with water while others use rocks and leaves to barricade and reshape the channels, guiding the water back to the stream through a constantly-changing network.  This is a particularly good game for one grown girl to keep several very young girls occupied.

Figure Shaping

Drier mud holds itself together and is well-suited to being formed into shapes.  Younger sculptors tend toward geometric shapes and simple figures, while older ones often create people and animals.

Mud Fights

Inevitably someone ends up getting pushed into the mud.  This begins a free-for-all of splashing and mud-flinging that draws almost everyone into its chaos.  This usually results in the destruction of all other games in progress, but since mud games are transitory and fights are fun, most don't complain.
There are three key ingredients for a satisfying session of mud play:
  1. Plentiful rain to prepare the mud
  2. Hot weather in which being wet feels good
  3. A pack of boys who bring ideas for new games from other villages

View from the future

Children in the vastland and the islands still enjoy playing in mud when the opportunity arises.  Who wouldn't?

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