Traditional Sport – Field Hockey of Daur Ethnic Group

The Daur people have always been known for their valiance and skillfulness in battle. Ever since old time, they have done well in riding and shooting, wrestling and playing field hockey. Field hockey, as called “Beikuo” in the Daur language, is a traditional sport with a long history. In 1976 the first national hockey team was founded in Morin Dawa Autonomous Banner, filling in the gaps of our national sports. Consequently, the State Sports Commission entitled the autonomous banner “Hometown of Field Hockey”. In the past twenty years, the banner’s hockey team has won the national championship for nineteen times, more than a hundred team members selected into the national team, and over ten couches produced or transmitted for Sichuan Province, Gansu Province, Ningxia Autonomous Region and the city of Tianjin. Thus great contributions have been done to promote hockey nationwide.

The folk hockey stick of the Daur people, with its stem about one meter long, is mostly made of oak wood bent at the bottom. The ball is made of apricot root or felt and is as big as a tennis ball. According to the original way of playing, there is no saying of goal shooting. Both sides draw a boundary line, and either side will win if they hit the ball over the line. In a formal game, a goal is set up at each end of the field, which is 50 meters apart, and the side will win if they hit the ball into their opponent’s goal.

On each festival or happy occasion the Daur brethren will hold a “Beikuo” game. Both the strong and healthy youth and the gray-haired old people will join and play. What is more interesting is that they also like to have a fireball game at night. A fireball is made up of the swelling part grown on birch trees. Some flammable materials like pine torches are stuffed into the emptied inside of the ball, or a felt ball is dipped into some combustible materials like oil. Lighted at the face-off, the ball burns into a small fireball with wind blowing. The two sides fiercely competing, the fireball shuttles back and forth in the dark sky, drawing bright curved lines one after another, very splendid.