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September is when Chile celebrates. The national holiday (fiestas patrias) falls on September 18th, and between having survived August, and the upcoming festivities which include traditional games, a whole lot of eating and drinking, kite flying and of course, the cueca (the national dance), there’s a lot to get prepared for. And this year is the bicentennial, so there’s even more to get prepared for.

And informed about:

reading about the bicentennial

Margaret at Cachando Chile told us a little about one of the little kids’ games that turns into a big kid game on September 18th, with competitions to see who can knock down someone else’s spinning top. They also make a competition out of our version of the kid’s cup and ball game, this time perhaps more aptly named the stick and cap game, or as we call it in Chile, emboque.

Emboque is a game where a stick and a cap are attached by a string, and with a flick of the wrist, the player manages to land the cap atop the stick. In other Spanish-speaking countries it’s called bolero, boliche, ticayo, capirucho or coca, and in France it’s bilboquet, or so the internet tells me.

emboque 2

En route, it looks like this:

emboque 1

and in case you were wondering, he’s not cheating, he’s (successfully) executing the advanced version, which involves having the cap on the stick and whipping your wrist around so the cap flies off, flips and lands again. For this part you can hold the string.

I am fairly useless at the emboque, though I fare slightly better with the american ball and cup game. I don’t consider this to be a great weakness on my part, and I like to think if I were Chilean I’d be better at it. Now where’s that bouncy-ball paddle game when you need it? I could really win a prize with that one.