In spite of the universal education that the state provides to children, the role of domestic education remains important for what Kalmyks call ‘growing up to be a Kalmyk’ which prepares children for adult life in society. Folklore, beliefs and practices related to pastoralism and hunting, and many others have been taught in the family through various games. Games, however, are not exclusive to children. For adults, games too bear educational, entertaining, aesthetic, and bonding significance. Many traditional games reinforce social norms and values. Dramatic social, cultural, and economic changes that took place in Kalmykia over the past century, however, have reshaped and re-prioritized many aspects of traditional domestic education as well as social values, which can be also seen in the changing pattern of games. Here you can view and listen to stories about traditional games that are rapidly losing their popularity and educational significance.

Alena Lidzhieva, About Games

Alena talks about traditional games, including khorma khotn, tsagan monda, mongn bus, nyarn shinj, and games played with ankle bones. Tsagan monda was a game played at night by several people. The rule is simple: A ball made of white cow skin is pushed into a hole. Games with ankle bones were reserved only for boys. Girls did not play such games.


Alexandra Nastaeva and Pupils of Secondary School No 12, Games With Ankle Bones