Chinlone means “basket rounded” and it refers to a sports game that is over 1,500 years old and was once played for Burmese royalty. The ball they use for this sport is normally made from handwoven rattan, which sounds like a basket when they play it. The festival is annually held during the Burmese month of Waso (mostly in July), specifically the day after the full-moon day of Waso, as part of the general Waso full moon festival to pay homage to the Buddha.
Normally, a play team for the competition must have six members. The team will stand in a small circle and attempt to keep a small ball aloft using only their feet, knees, shoulders, and head. The way to play this game is pretty simple as the players perform their skills just like a form of dance or martial art.
The main purpose of this traditional sport is not mainly about winning or losing, but it is about how beautifully the team performs. The players will pass the ball back and forth with their feet and knees as they walk around in a circle. One player will be at the center of the circle and perform how they keep the ball beautifully by creating a dance of various moves strung together. The winners are determined by the judge of how good they perform.
Every year, many teams gather from all over Myanmar for this traditional festival in Mandalay. Even this sport is not about direct contact and competing or opposition from other teams, it’s still an interesting event for the locals and tourists with every team and player attempting to perform their most amazing skills and moves to keep the tiny Chinlone ball in the air. Some basic skills that can be seen in this sport are backflips, spinning kicks, and handstands. These are just a few moves used in the game and there are hundreds of other performing skills by players.
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