Kith Kith, The Desi Version Of Hopscotch

Every child in the world knows Hopscotch. The game played by pretty much children everywhere is fun, simple and known as Kith Kith in India. The other names for this game are Stapu, Ekhat-Dukhat or Pandi Attam.

hopscotch photo
Photo by thejbird / CC BY 2.0

Some games have become so popular on a global level that nobody remembers their origins. The simplicity and ease of childhood games are the reason they become so popular. According to some sources, Hopscotch was initially invented in Rome. Roman children first started drawing figures or boxes on the street or the floor. Records and references about Hopscotch exist from the 17th century. In earlier times, the children used lead to draw the boxes. The boxes had meaningful lines or rhymes written inside instead of numbers. Over time, there have been several variations of the game. Let’s find out the rules, origins and versions.

How is the game played?

Kith Kith or Pandi Attam as it’s known in South India is mostly played by young children or girls. A hopping game, it is also called Tangidi Billa in Andhra Pradesh.

Numbered boxes or patterned rectangles are drawn on the floor with chalk or stone. An object, a pebble or a stone is then thrown in the first box. In Maharashtra, broken pebbles or stones are used as markers. The object has to land completely within the square. The player can’t step or touch the square with the object; in fact they must avoid it. Local versions often involve local rules. For example some times, the player has to hop on alternate feet or sing a song while jumping. Or left foot must be placed in the left square and the right must be in the air. The players have to start from a ‘home’ base where you can stand on both feet before jumping or hopping. The player has to hop or jump on one foot to retrieve the object. If there are 2 squares next to each other then the player has to place one foot in each square – left foot in left square and right foot in right square.

In Kith Kith, the players have to complete a round of the entire pattern before picking up the object or the marker. Say, there are 8 squares or patterned rectangles then the player has to finish hopping through all 8 and continue back to the 1st box with the marker or object in it. He/She has to pick the marker and exit the game. The turn continues as the same player then attempts to throw the marker or object in the second box. If a player loses his/her balance, fails to jump between the boxes or touches the line of the squares, they forfeit their turn. The player who completes all boxes in the game is the winner. If nobody completes all 8, the player with the maximum number of boxes is declared the winner.

hopscotch photo
Photo of School Girls playing Hopscotch_Cuba 042 by hoyasmeg /CC BY 2.0

Hopscotch or Kith Kith in its variants is known across the world. You can see countless children playing it on pavements, streets, near schools and parks. Only a chalk and floor is required to play this addictive and simple game. Songs are made by children which they sing while playing it or chants that the player has to chant when hopping on one foot. Children are highly imaginative and they use their creativity by making up fun rules to the otherwise simple and quick game of Hopscotch. It is played around the world and has different names. In Turkey it is called Seksek, Escargot in France, Bebeleche in Mexico, Thikrya in Maharashtra, Piko in Philippines, Himmel und Holle in Germany. Himmel und Holle means ‘Heaven and Hell’ in German as the first square is Earth and the last squares are Heaven and Hell. The players have to avoid Hell and try their best to land in Heaven.

Featured photo of School Girls playing Hopscotch_Cuba 042 by hoyasmeg /CC BY 2.0

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