Chain Weaver Grandpa

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 2 - May 2012, Author - Shazia Azizzada 2Shazia Azizzada, Sponsorship Management Officer

Faryab, Afghanistan

July 11, 2012


Afghan children, even amid the turmoil of a three-decade war, continue to play traditional games. For 80 years “Baba Zanjeerbaf,”meaning “chain weaver grandpa or old man,” has been a favorite.

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 2, May 2012, Photo 1The tradition behind “Baba Zanjeerbaf” tells of a spiritual old man who ties people together with long chains to bind and strengthen them so
that when one is in need they can all help to support them.

The game, played by girls and boys of all ages usually in a group of around 10 to 20, is very common in Faryab and Saripul provinces where we are implementing Sponsorship-funded programs.

From the group one child is chosen as “Baba Zanjeerbaf” and another as the group leader. Holding each other’s hands, the children stand in a line with the group leader and “Baba Zanjeerbad” at each end. The group leader and children then sing a song of questions which are answered by the
“Baba Zanjeerbaf”:

Children: Baba Zanjeerbaf!

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Baba zanjeer bafti? (Did you weave the chains?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Poshte koh andakhti? (Did you throw them behind
the mountains?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Baba amada? Chi chi aworda? (Did Baba Zanjeerbaf
come? What did he bring?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Keshmesh wa Nakhod! Bya wa Bukhor! (Pea and
Raisin! Come and eat!)

Children: Ba sadaie chi beyayem? (Which sound should we come
with?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Ba sadaie peshak! (The sound of a cat!)

Children: Meyaw…Meyaw…Meyaw (imitating the sound of cat)

The children then swap positions and start the song again,
this time imitating another pet’s sound. This continues until all the children
have swapped their position and have imitated different pets’ sound, then the
song changes:

Children: Baba Zanjeerbaf!

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Zanjeer ma bafti? (Did you weave my chains?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bafta shod! (It is made.)

Children: Zanjeer mahkam ast ya shol? (Are they strong or
weak?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Kash ko wa bibin! (Pull it and see.)

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 2, May 2012, Photo 5Then the “Baba Zanjeerbaf” pulls from one end of the line and the group leader pulls from other, until the chain breaks. The child where the chain breaks is penalized by the group leader to sing a song, dance or tell a joke. The side of the chain with the most children is the winner.

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