Playing BEKELAN – Exotic Traditional Game for Girls

Playing Bekelan
On the last article on #MasIfan.Com had explored about the traditional game. They are benthik and gobag sodor. As we know that all traditional games stated above begin rare to be played by our children. One more traditional game which also begins rare to be played especially the girls. Some years ago this game was a favourite game for girls. Every afternoon they play this game with their friends.

The name of this traditional game is Bekelan  or Bekel. This game is from Central Java, but #MasIfan.Com finds some literature that this game comes from West Java and Madura. It is not too important because this traditional game is from my beloved country-Indonesia. Bekelan plays by 2-4 girls on 7-10 years old. Bekelan is competitif game. It means that this game can be matched with their own rule.

In West Java, there are three steps position in playing Bekelan. First, free position of Kuwuk (bekel’s seed). Second, the kuwuk must be change position to be sprawl up and the last, all kuwuk must be prone.

This game which seems so simple but actually it is very difficult to play. You must have skill and ability to play bekelan. Some boys sometime underestimate this game but if they try playing this game they will feel so difficulty.

The History of Bekelan 
The word Bekelan is from dutch Bikkelen. This game has relation with gathengan. Gathengan only uses gravels and bekelan uses special equiptment. It is consists of Bekel ball, and five pieces of kuwuk that made of metal. Some of kuwuk  made of brass or tin. At the first time, it made from sheep’s hinge heel bone.

Evidently, Bekelan  not only known in Indonesia, but also the Greek and Ancient Roman knew this game. Both of them called it Bekel. They used sheep’s phalange. And on the beginning of XIX century they used metal.

What are the Equipments to Play Bekelan?
If you want to play Bekelan you just need a small colourfull bekel ball with diameter 3 cm and 10 clamshells called kuwuk/kewuk. The shape of kuwuk/kewuk is like shell. You can change kuwuk using brass like cashew kernels which both its side are red dot marked rounds. You must play on the flat surface like tiles, ceramics or land. It caused the ball can be bouncing stable.


How to Play Bekelan?
This game begins to play by spreading and throwing the ball up and catch it soon after bounching the tile once. If you can’t catch the ball or you can catch it after few bounches so you die. You must stop your game.

First, the player hold all bekel seed. Spread all on the tile while you throw the bekel ball up and catch. Pick the seed bekel up one by one until end. Repeat it by spreading all the bekel seed and pick two bekel seed, then three, four seed and the last five seed at once.

Second, change the position of the bekel seed facing up one by one. Repeat until all the surface of bekel seed facing up. Then pick it one seed, two, theww, four and then pick all seed up at once.

Third, reverse the position of bekel seed facing down and repeat the second step at this steps.

Fourth, change all the position of bekel seed on the smooth surface facing up then pick the bekel seed like on the third step.

Fifth, reverse the position of bekel seed on rough surface facing up then pick all the bekel seed all up.

The last called Nasgopel. Reverse the position bekel seed all facing up, the reverse all facing down then the smooth surface facing up and the last reverse one by one the rough surface all facing up. Pick all the seed up at once. If there is a mistake in nasgopel step, the player must repeat on the nasgopel beginning. The player who can pass this step is a winner and she can take a rest while watching the other players who haven’t finished the game yet.

The Advantages of Bekelan
This game influences to the growth of the childrens’ physical, mental, and their soul. This game is very interesting and has some advantages for them.

First, practice the children more skillful. To play this game needs a strategy how to spread the seed so when they fall down, it will be profitable for you. The player must be strict, be careful when they change the seed positions. Don’t touch the other seed!

Second, the player must keep watching when they throw the ball up. It means that the player must fast and proper in thinking.

Third, this game practices the coordination between visual and motoric because their hand will be practiced to move fast and be careful.

Fourth, this game can increase the control ability of the fingers and movement. One hand must arrange and keep bekel seed (kuwuk). The kuwuk may not be down when you take the other kuwuk.