Name in Original Language
Area Where Played
The word αγαλματάκια (agalmatakia) in Greek means “little statues, statuettes”. It refers to the players’ trying to remain motionless in their position. The game is often also called στρατιωτάκια (stratiotakia = little soldiers). A variation of the game, in which the players should stay motionless while standing on one leg, is attested in Greek antiquity under the name ακινητίνδα (akinetinda), which derives from the word ακίνητος (akinitos = motionless). Agalmatakia / stratiotakia is a version of a universal game pattern in which the players must stay motionless. The English variation is called “statues” and falls within the “musical chairs” family of games.
A child with eyes closed stays apart from the other with its back turned to them and asks: “Αγαλματάκια ακίνητα, αμίλητα, αγέλαστα, μέρα ή νύχτα;” (Little statues (little soldiers), motionless, speechless, smile-less, is it day or night?). If the other children answer “Night”, it means they are not ready yet. When they answer “Day”, the child opens its eyes and looks at them, while they try to stay frozen in their position despite the child’s trying to make them move, smile or laugh by talking to them, saying jokes, grinning or even tickling them (which kinds of such physical provocations are allowed is established in the beginning of the game). If a child is caught moving, it takes the role of the interrogator (“mana”). In a variation, the children tried to adopt “elegant” positions copied from well-known statues , advertisement, cinema posters, etc.