Games in Saudi Arabia are where tradition, athleticism, and sheer joy converge on playgrounds and open spaces or can get into the comfort of homes. Beyond the typical images, Saudi Arabia boasts a rich history of outdoor and indoor activities that reflect the culture, heritage, and spirited nature of its people. From the adrenaline rush of football and the graceful gallop of camel and horse racing to the mind-twisting abilities of Saudi checkers, the kingdom offers a spectrum of experiences for tourists and citizens.
Outdoor games in Saudi Arabia
Football is one of the most popular outdoor games and KSA national game. Kids playing football in public grounds and residential areas is fairly a common sight. Since the formation of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation in 1957, Saudi Arabia has participated in various global events. Al-Suqour Al-Khodhur (The Green Falcons) is the national team of the KSA. The country also hosts numerous league matches with as many as 18 club teams participating in these events. The population of Saudi Arabia is passionate about their national team and remains enthusiastic during league matches. Additionally, football is a great sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages in the kingdom.
2. Camel and horse racing
Camels and horses are an indispensable part of Saudi culture. The animals are looked up with utmost respect and find a special place in the households. Owing to their importance, they are extensively used for camel and horse racing. Many tournaments such as the Saudi Cup and Crown Prince Camel Festivals are organized for the celebration of these animals with a competitive spirit. Tourists and residents also enjoy racing with their friends and families from time to time in a safe environment.
With access to huge dunes, sandboarding is not an anomaly in Saudi Arabia. Similar to snowboarding, sandboarding includes a person using a board to slide down the sand of the huge dunes. The steepness of the dunes can become thrilling at a very high speed. Though an adventure sport, it is one of the top activities that tourists and Saudi Arabians take part in. It goes without saying that the activity is not for the faint-hearted and requires expert guidance as sand can get perilous at any time.
Carrom is similar to billiards but as a miniature version of it is a traditional board games of Saudi Arabia. As the board is readily available and affordable for the masses to play, it has become a population favorite over the years. Originating in the Indian subcontinent, the game has found its way to Saudi Arabia through old trade routes. The game is popular and played widely during Ramadan as a pastime. There are numerous board sizes; however, the number of players is a maximum of four. Families can play the game in teams of two and can rotate to accommodate more players.
Dama, quirkat, or as it is known today as modern-day checkers is another engrossing game that is played by friends and family in Saudi Arabia. The game tests the awareness and mental capability of the players. Played on a squared board just as in chess, the game’s objective is to capture all of the pieces of the opponents while avoiding the capturing of one’s own. It is typically considered as the game of adults; however interested children also take part in the game with great zeal. Formalizing a strategy and amazing bluffing are two of the key components to winning the game.
A variant of the blind man’s bluff, Ghommemah is one of the favorites among young kids. The game involves one person tied with a blindfold searching for others in an open ground. If they catch one of the other participants, they will have to guess the name of the person they caught. It is an ingenious way of mixing with the community and promoting brotherhood among the kids. Further, the game enhances the cognitive capabilities of the children, where their senses are at work and get better with time.
Fashkah resembles the Leapfrog game but with a unique twist. Instead of leaping over players’ backs, two participants sit side by side on the ground, extending their legs to touch. The third player runs and attempts to jump over the stretched-out legs. Successfully clearing the legs prompts the two seated players to widen the gap by moving slightly apart. This process continues, with the gap increasing each time the jumper successfully clears the extended legs. The round persists until the jumper fails to make it over in a single leap.
In Saudi Arabia, the world of games is not just a playground but a reflection of a society that understands the profound value of play, bonding, and the enduring spirit of competition.
Suggested Read: Unravel The Beauty Of Horse Riding In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Games In Saudi Arabia FAQs
What are the top outdoor games in Saudi Arabia?
Football and sandboarding are some of the famous outdoor games and sports.
Why is camel racing famous in Saudi Arabia?
Camels are an integral part of the Saudi Arabian culture. They have been a part of every tale in Arabia. Hence, camel racing has become popular over the years of Saudi history.
What are some indoor games played in Saudi Arabia?
World Combat Games, Carrom and Dama are top indoor games played in Saudi Arabia.
Which games are popular amongst children in Saudi Arabia?
Ghommemah and Fashkhah are great games.