Vietnam Culture Festivals & Folk-games Nu Na Nu Nong

Nu Na Nu Nong

This is a girls’ chanting game. Several girls sit side by side with their legs stretched out. The head of the game recites a song; at each word, she uses her hand to touch another girl’s leg or foot.

 

There are several variations of the song, all of which start with the alliterative nonsense phrase nu na nu nong. One example goes as follows:

Nu na nu nong
Danh trong phat co (Beat the drums and raises the flags)
Mo hoi thi dua (Open the festival to compete)
Chan ai sach se (The ones whose feet are clean)
Got do hong hao (Their heels are pink)
Khong ban ti nao (And have no dirt)
Duoc vao danh trong (Are allowed to beat the drums).

As she sings the last word, the girl whose leg is hit must withdraw it. Normally, the leader recites the song slowly as it is about to end, so that the other girls feel anxious about whose leg will be hit. The game resumes until every child has withdrawn her legs. The girl who withdraws both her legs first wins and the last one with legs in the game loses.

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