Title: On the Planet Mars
General Information About Item:
- Customary Lore, Children Hand Games
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: Saudi Arabia
- Informant: Abu Bakar
- Date Collected: May 9, 2019
Abu Bakar was born in Malaysia and moved to Brunei when he was 6 years old, he lived in Brunei for 4 years and eventually moved to Saudi Arabia where he lived in the expatriate community for his 7 years there. Bakar relocated to the US ever since he started college at Dartmouth and now lives on campus.
Both players are expected to sing the song while they play, their hands are supposed to move in a certain way, as seen in the video. When the last word “freeze” is said, the players are supposed to stop moving. If a player messes up the hand motions or moves after the word “Freeze is said”, the player is supposed to be given a light slap. Often times, the players would try and freeze in funny positions prompting the others to laugh. The player who remains frozen for the longest is the “winner”.
On the planet Mars,
Where the babies smoke cigars,
Every step you take
Is enough to kill a snake.
When the snake is dead,
They put mustard on their heads.
When the mustard dries
You put diamonds in their eyes
When the diamonds break,
You put two out of sixty-eight
Bakar learned the song from his sisters when he was in primary school. He said that they brought it back from their school. His elder brothers later adopted it and created a rougher version involving punishment when the players failed to comply with the rules of the game or “got out of the freeze” sooner than their friend.
Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):
There are multiple variations exist around the world. To see additional variations, please refer to: http://judyperez.blogspot.com/2005/06/theres-place-called-mars.html
Abu Bakar said many of the hand movements were recreated as he progressed through primary school, becoming progressively more difficult. Therefore, the game which is recorded in the video is not necessarily an exact replica of what he played for all of his childhood, but rather an approximation of the version of the game which was most impactful
Manzi Bryan ’21
- Customary Folklore
- Children Hand Games
- On the Planet Mars