A traditional Slovenian Easter game that you can play at home. We hope it will bring some fun and good spirit to your home in the forthcoming Easter holidays.
When I was a child my favourite Easter game was 'takalane pirhov' (rolling Easter eggs). We played it for hours and hours…in the living room, on the terrace, or outside on the lawn. We played it most often with our cousins, since we always spent Easter Sunday together, but also played it frequently at home with my brother and parents.
During the game we cracked a lot of coloured eggs, and sometimes we didn't stop until all the eggs had run out! Coins were almost as important as the coloured eggs themselves. Days in advance we searched for coins in all the nooks and crannies of our house to see who could collect the most in their bag. Those coins, which we got when we dressed up for carnival time – along with sweets and doughnuts – now came in very handy. Takalane pirhov was the first (and for a long time really the only) game that we played for money and also the only time in the year when we really needed money. And if our bag of coins was full, we felt like we were very rich, as if we had gold rather than coins in our plastic bags.
We prepared a blanket and a ramp for the coloured eggs (more about that below) and each player chose their coloured egg. It had to be hard enough and just the right shape that it didn't veer too much, whilst also not being too round that it didn't only go straight. We then decided on the order of play and the price of one hit, then play could begin! Of course, if you have young children then you don't need to use coins. You can play the game using buttons, chocolate eggs, or even make your own money.
In the chosen order we released our coloured eggs down the ramp; the aim of the game was to hit one of the coloured eggs on the blanket. All the coloured eggs remained on the blanket at all time - other than, of course, that of the person whose turn it was. If you hit an egg, the egg's owner had to pay the agreed amount, while if your egg was hit then, of course, you had to pay. The game normally ended when all the coloured eggs had been cracked, so that they couldn't even roll any more, while the winner was the person whose coloured egg remained most intact. The game was a real experience, as the whole family was involved, and there was no lack of shouting, laughter and cheering each other on, while our parents often had to take on the role of 'judge' as defining the winner came down to a matter of millimetres. I remember that, in the event when we children went to bed, our parents would often once again set up the game and play it with their own friends. So, why not have a go and you too will be able to see what a fun game it is and how quickly time flies when you are having fun!
We most often used two wooden rakes, particularly when we played it in our courtyard. We set them up one beside the other with the spikes of the rake facing down and the handles running parallel to the ground. We placed a thick blanket in the area where the rakes reached the ground – or actually just slightly before – so that the eggs didn't smash too quickly and didn't roll too far. If you don't have rakes, you could also use other kinds of long, hard sticks and make a similar ramp. Play around until you get the optimal incline and length.
In old photographs it can be seen that people once used small wooden troughs; we were fortunate that our granddad made us a really special wooden ramp that we were able to use both indoors and outdoors and which we handled with care. We still have it now and still use it every year, too!
Rolling Easter eggs in Kamna Gorica in 1960s
The game dates back to olden times. In the past it wasn't played for money but, simply, for coloured eggs. If you hit an egg, it became yours. There are also some other traditional Easter games that have been preserved. To this day in some of the villages in the surroundings of Radovljica the game 'fucanje' (coin throwing) is also still played by men on Easter Monday, and in some villages competitions still take place. Sadly, not this year, but we will write about them and invite you to join in next year.
We wish you a Happy Easter and a lot of fun playing the Easter coloured egg game!
Written by Kaja Beton, April 2020
My children are among those who, in addition to walking itself, need an additional reason to go for a walk. Here I reveal a trail that offers the greatest motivation during the month of March.
Set off as a family on an adventure accompanied by a cute 'bee' who will explain where she lives, what her chores are, and where she goes to gather nectar. You will see Radovljica's attractions on the way and, as a reward, savour the taste of sweet honeybreads.