A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Al Marjehanya in traditional Heritage

Issue 11
Al Marjehanya in traditional Heritage

Amira abdel kerim (Bahrain)
Tahani al markhi (Bahrain)

The girl should strongly grip the rope while other girls are pushing it forward and backward. Sometimes two girls could sit on the rope. The girls used to chant songs especially composed for the game, which is usually performed during the vacations and social or religious ceremonies. Marjehanya is possibly one of the oldest popular games. The game in the past occupied the young as well as the old, both male and female in social ceremonies. The game has association with specific occasions. It still retains some of its enchantment for the children. The Marjehanya is moreover one of the ancient rituals of the Hajj. The preparations for the Hajj were followed by the construction of the swing. The next ritual expresses the feeling of waiting for the coming home of the Hajj. All these rituals are joined with colorful songs and lullabies which express conflicting feelings. The relatives amuse themselves playing Almarjehanya hoping to subdue the anxiety created by the absence of the Hajj. They used to chant songs while playing the game. The collective conscience expresses sincere feelings during the game. We have observed that these very rituals are performed in the Yemini society where Almarjehanya is still existing. However the rituals of Almarjehanya start the moment the Hajj leaves home, and continues up to the 9th of Dhu Alhaja. In the beginning the swing is constructed inside the house of Hajj if there is a room, otherwise it is constructed in the traditional places where there is Acacia and Palms. The children and the relatives continue playing the game up to the 8th of Dhu Alhajja. The next day the swing is moved to another place. When the 9th day of the month comes the swing is taken to the Hajj's house where a symbolic wedding is performed. The Hajj's room is decorated the same way the pride groom's room is decorated. To sum up, Almarjehanya is not only a traditional game but it is an important ritual as well. Unfortunately the game is no longer performed as a ritual and so many people do not remember such a vivid and rich ritual.

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