Cat's Cradle Game History
String games such as Cats Cradle have been played around the world for thousands if not millions of years.
Cat's cradle game history. In the mid-80s David and the Penleys passed the torch to Frank HeathAs we all realized during two weekends of anniversary shows in December and January the rest is history. Our Cats Cradle and Other String Games 3014 uses the Haddon and Rivers terminology for defining the strings on the fingers and features jumbo yarn. In the American colonies Cats Cradle or Cratch Cradle was one of the earliest and most popular of all known string games.
That certainly sounds far-fetched today but it was a commonly held superstition back in the 1600s and 1700s. String figures are a storytelling tradition in many cultures around the world including among Arctic Indigenous Peoples Aboriginal. And it may be known in Java Celebes and Australia.
Using simply one string - alone in pairs or in groups - across times and cultures humans have created figures invented stories and let their imagination soar. As Vonnegut says For maybe a hundred thousand years or more grownups have been waving tangles of string in their childrens faces to form nothing but a bunch of Xs between somebodys hands 165-166. Cats Cradle has moved a few times in its 50 years including to locations on Franklin and Rosemary streets in Chapel Hill.
It is well known in China Korea Japan the Philippines and Borneo. Haddon has pointed out the familiar game of cats-cradle probably had its origin in Asia whence it was introduced into Europe. Known as fan sheng in China and Jack in the Pulpit in the UK its a simple game that requires teamwork and offers a great sense of satisfaction when mastered.
The question of who first played cats cradle the childrens game in which two players alternately take from each others fingers an intertwined cord so as always to produce a symmetrical figure is almost as contentious as the origin of its name. The use of cats in the cradle to describe something dangerous appears to come from an old wives tale that if allowed into its crib a cat would kill an infant by sucking out its breath. Though it is most commonly seen as a childrens game in contemporary society cats cradle is one of the oldest and most widespread games found in recorded human history.
Cup and Saucer The Witchs Broom Cats Cradle and Jacobs Ladder as well as a brief history of string games. It does not appear that this game has a particular origin. Im one of those people who like to have something to fiddle with in their hands and it was easy to carry a loop of string in my pocket.
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