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APRIL, 2007 → ← JUNE, 2007

Боз-кашӣ, Boz-kaši … Ojalá 4th of May, 2007 POST·MERIDIEM 07:28

‘Before they settled on the plateau, the Iranians were pastoral nomads (as many still are), like their neighbours and successors the Turks, Mongols and other northern steppe peoples. It is thus unsurprising that they share many cultural traits. Among these are […] a wild team sport on horseback, known in northern Afghanistan as boz-kaši, “goat-grabbing.” In this the contestants try, by fair means or foul, to gain possession of the body of a decapitated goat or calf and deposit it at a goal. A more decorous relative of this game, polo, may have evolved in Iran, where it was a sport of the ruling elite from at least the tenth until the seventeenth century.

Thereafter it was preserved in the remote mountain areas of Hunza and Baltistan (where it is still popular, though it must sometimes share its field with the local soccer team). In these “hill stations” it was adopted by the British, who popularised it in the rest of northern India early in the twentieth century, whence it spread among the horse-riding classes of the world as far as Argentina and was re-introduced into Iran.’

  —John R. Perry, Folklore of the Iranian Region, Introduction, Asian Folklore Studies,  Vol. 60, No. 2. (2001), pp. 191-202.

I wonder what would happen on the introduction of a decapitated goat to a game of polo in our part of the world, heh.

Word of the day; ojalá is Spanish for ان شاء الله, ‘please God,’ ‘in shā’ allah’, ‘if God wills it.’ It is from Arabic, but according to Wikipedia, the source phrase was law šaʾ allāh, which would explain the absence of the /n/ (as compared to the more known version of the phrase). The /ʃ/ will have moved to /x/ relatively recently; cf. the English word ‘sherry’, named after a Spanish city in the 1600s, which city is now called Jerez.

Last comment from Ste on the 19th of May at 22:47
Interesting word of the day, I’ve been offline for over two weeks, but spent all day yesterday walking around the Alhambra palace and surrounding complex, and rounded out the day with an hour session in an "Arabic Bath" in Granada..

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