Table of contents:
- Differences in fun
- Favorite amusements for the nobility
- Wrestling and fistfights among common people
- What were the gambling games in Russia
- Songs and musical instruments
- Outdoor games
Our ancestors were very fond of having fun, so not a single holiday could do without folk festivities and fun. And sometimes leisure was different for men and women, for noble persons and commoners, but absolutely everyone loved to have fun. There were also forbidden amusements, which from this even more attracted people. So how did you have fun in Russia?
Differences in fun
In the old days, the fun of the Russian people was very different from the European ones, where outdoor entertainment was more popular. What is noteworthy, men had more entertainment than women, absolutely, as well as noble people were deprived of a good half of the entertainment, in contrast to simple hard workers. Interestingly, in the old days, people did not bother with the rules of games or sports. They danced, but they did not have any kind of dances or certain movements, they rode on horseback and shot from a bow, but they did it as best they could, without learning the general rules.
If in Europe even then there were rules for dancing, fencing, horse riding, then for our ancestors all this was alien. They also did not understand what was interesting in conversations between men and women, therefore, in ancient Russia, wives, daughters and other women were not allowed into the company of men, especially if there were strangers there. The same applied to dancing, where it was unacceptable for people of different genders to gather. And noble persons should not start dancing at all, even if they really wanted to. In those days it was, one might say, indecent.
Walking was still alien to our ancestors, while in Europe it was one of the entertainment. Our people, like in the east, considered it shameful to walk for a long time. They even tried to ride horses on a visit, because why bother walking, if you can ride a horse.
Favorite amusements for the nobility
Noble persons were deprived of many amusements, but they still had a few amusements. Moreover, the men were more fortunate, since basically all these were not women's entertainments. In the old days, the most important amusement of boyars, nobles and even sovereigns was hunting. Hunting for animals was especially held in high esteem, rather than for birds. It was not just entertainment, but more preparation for the coming war, or keeping fit in case of war. This fun is not only for excitement and food production, but also for strategic preparation. Hunting teaches you to shoot, sneak up, endure cold or heat, hunger and thirst.
Safer, but no less beloved, the nobility had a game of chess. Even the Sovereigns considered this game one of the most interesting and exciting. This fun appeared a very long time ago, according to many sources, they borrowed it from the Persians or Indians. Over time, ordinary people began to play it, but mainly in large cities, not villages.
Wrestling and fistfights among common people
To be always ready for war and not afraid of the enemy, the ordinary, working population did not go hunting, but took part in fist fights and wrestling. Moreover, it was a real fight without rules. Usually, everything took place on holidays in squares where young men and adult men gathered. They were divided into two teams, starting at a signal, a whistle, and attacking the opposite crowd of men. Such fun has always attracted many spectators, although they were very terrible and bloody.
There are no rules and forbidden strikes, they beat, as and wherever they want, with their hands, feet and head on any part of the opponent's body.The winner must stand the longest in the battle and defeat more opponents. Also included were injuries suffered by the winner himself. The worst thing about these battles was that there were frequent cases of death of participants. Fortunately, over time, these fights were banned.
What were the gambling games in Russia
The game of cards appeared in the XIV century, although there are still disputes over where exactly - in France or Italy. This fun was brought to the vastness of Russia by foreigners who came here to serve or various trades at the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century. This game quickly came to the liking of many people, but Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich did not really like this game, so he decided to ban it. At court they tried not to play cards, or they hid from prying eyes, especially the king. But in the army and in the navy there was a certain condescension to the card game. The only prohibition for them was to lose more than one ruble.
Gambling also included grains and dice, which were invented by the Romans and Greeks. These games also came to the territory of Russia along with the foreigners who arrived here, however, when exactly, history is silent. At first, this game was allowed and approved by the tsar, but soon these games became ruinous for the population, and Alexei Mikhailovich was forced to ban them as well.
Songs and musical instruments
Singing appeared in Russia since the adoption of Christianity, quickly becoming one of the favorite pastimes, both for men and women. The songs were of two types: church and secular. The latter, in turn, were divided into Christmastide, wedding, round dance, dance and others. In 1053, Prince Yaroslav the Wise brought with him several singers with his family, so that they would help teach church songs to sing in eight voices, so that they could be easily distinguished from secular amusement songs.
Over time, special institutions were created where they taught singing. By the way, women were also allowed to study there. The daughter of the Grand Duke Vsevolod Yaroslavich, Princess Anna, also studied there. After that, many noble people wanted to learn this art. So singing became the favorite pastime of the female sex, although the ban on participation in chants with men was still in effect.
Since the singing that came to us with the Christian faith was a capella, there was no particular need to learn the skills of accompaniment. Our ancient ancestors did not feel respect, love, and the need for musical instruments. Military musical instruments were the only exception.
But one day in 1151, the Grand Duke of Kiev Izyaslav I Mstislavich made a great feast for Kiev and Hungarian noble persons. All those present were most impressed at this feast by the Hungarian musicians who skillfully play instruments. Since then, interest in this art form began to grow markedly. So our ancestors had many instruments that are still used today or have similar designs or sounds.
One of the oldest musical instruments in Russia was a horn, which consisted of three strings and looked like a violin. They played it with a bow. Also loved in Russia are such instruments as: balalaika, jew's harp, bagpipes, gusli, pipe, flute, horn and others.
Since our ancestors did not have much entertainment, they liked to gather for small friendly meetings, where they discussed various topics over food and a glass. Basically, of course, this was how men gathered. Over time, the entertainment program began to expand, balls, theatrical performances, masquerades and other entertainments for people appeared. Well, in the old days they were content with some of the following fun.
In Russia from about the XIV century there was an ancient team game "Lapta". This game is quite funny and agile, vaguely reminiscent of the well-known baseball.The essence of the game was to hit the ball with a bat as far as possible, after which it was necessary to run in the opposite direction and quickly return. During this time, the opposing team is trying to grab the ball and touch it or hand to the player. By the way, at the time of Peter, this game became one of the mandatory training programs for soldiers of the tsarist army, because it helps to develop endurance, speed and agility.
The old game "Babki" was also very popular among the population. This game required pork, lamb or beef bones, as well as a weighty bat, inside which lead or other heavy metal was poured. This game has several options for the game, but, in any case, the main rule is to knock down the dough as quickly as possible with a bat or in another agreed way.
Another variation of the previous game is called Townships. Here the idea is the same, the only thing that is knocked down is not bones, but small stumps of trees, sticks and logs. They are lined up in various figures, towns, and from a certain distance they try to knock them down with a bat or a large stick.
Fun "Stream" gained more popularity when it was allowed to gather with the opposite sex together for festivities. Especially girls and boys liked it, because in it one could meet or flirt with a person they liked. This game is known today. Couples stand one after another, hold hands and lift them up. This creates a long passage under the arch of the arms. A player walks along this aisle, taking someone to his place. The person who was left without a pair goes to the beginning of the passage, the source of the stream, looking for a new pair. And again the game repeats its action.
"Round dance" is also a well-known fun. Among the Slavs, this is a favorite dance game, because here you can not only move, but also sing, since a round dance is led to a song. During the round dance, various figures are performed, for example, a square, a circle, a spiral, a triangle, a snake, and so on.
Many people know the phrase "to play with spillikins", which means wasting time, but such a game was really in Russia. Spillikins themselves are short sticks, about ten centimeters, made of reeds or wood. These sticks are thrown on the table, and then removed in turn, so as not to move the adjacent stick. The game "Spillikins" develops dexterity, patience, and also an eye.