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Games

Since the early childhood the life of young Cossacks had been filled with labour and martial practice.

They helped the adults to plough earth on oxen, sow grain, pasture cows, they went fishing, groomed the horses: in summer they bathed them in the river, brushed, combed the tail and mane. However both the godfather and the ataman, and old people were careful about the children not to overwork them and let them play.

From generation to generation, in children’s games, boys were handed down special martial skills, the art of man-to-man fighting, and in free time young Cossacks generally played war: they fought with wooden swords and reed lances, captured “banners”, “prisoners”…

From the age of 3-5, boys were taught horseriding, elder boys practised  in slashing rods sitting on the horse standing. At first the swords were wooden, of course. They also played “balls”, “gorelki”, “buckles”, “marmot”, “knives”, “yarki-boyarki”.

On holidays (Shrovetide, Whitsunday) teenagers set out fisticuffs bearing no cruelty, followed by friendly hugs of the beaten-nosed participants.

Since their early childhood girls had learned to make clothes, knit and embroid, they had helped about the house. They played “houses”, ball, hide-and-seek.

The old Cossack game traditions have been preserved by now, and boys and girls are keen on playing them.