Tyflomyga | Greece

Name in Original Language

Τυφλόμυγα

Area Where Played

Greece

History

The name τυφλόμυγα (mean. “blind fly”) in Greek indicates an outdoors game like blindman’s-buff. The game is been attested in ancient Greek as “μυῖνδα”, from the verb μύω, mean. “close the eyes”. An ancient Greek variation “χαλκῆμυῖα” (mean. “copper fly”) is also attested. It is possible that the name comprising a “fly” (μύγα/μυῖα) is the result of linguistic corruption. The game is referred to in ancient Greek sources, cited in Lidell-Scott-Jones (s.v. μυῖα II and μυῖνδα). The game is played usually by younger children in small groups. It can be played indoors or outdoors, although the latter is more often the case.
Blindman’s buff appears in various parts of the world, with small variations. Among others, it is attested in England since the Tudor period, in China, in Japan, in Bangladesh etc.

Detailed Description

A variation of the game was known in antiquity by the name chalki myia (“copper fly”). In this variation, the blindfolded player was giving the sign for the game to begin, by proclaiming “I’m going to chase the copper fly”. The other players were teasing the chaser by touching him and chanting “You will chase it but you won’t capture it”. Whoever was caught, was taking the place of the blindfolded chaser.
A number of variants of the game’s name are also attested:1. Tyflopani/ Tyflopanna/ Tyflopanniara (mean. “blindfold”) (Τυφλοπάνι/Τυφλοπάννα/ Τυφλοπαννιάρα)
2. Zourlopanniara (Ζουρλοπαννιάρα)
3. Boufos (Μπούφος)
4. Psilafinda (anc.) (Ψηλαφίνδα, αρχ.)

Rules

Myinda was played by a small group of players. One of them was blindfolded, while the others were scattered around, but not too far from him or her. The blindfolded player was groping around, trying to capture one of the other players; if he or she identified the captured one correctly, the latter would in turn be blindfolded for the game to continue. The same game is known today as tyflomyga (“blind fly”). Sometimes the players tease the blindfolded one by touching him or her, with their hands or with short sticks.