Another new day, another surprising Israeli phenomenon. Today’s is the Apricot Pit Game (I don’t know the Hebrew name yet). The kids save up apricot seeds, dry them out, and play a game where you throw them into a box with holes cut out in various sizes and shapes. Each hole has a point value, based on the difficulty of tossing in an apricot seed, from 3-4 feet away. The shooter gets back a number of seeds equal to his point total.
The boxes range from the very basic – shoe boxes with holes punched in the top – to the very elaborate. One of our neighbors’ sons has one with an electric-turned wheel (pictured at right). Word is that the other neighbors’ son has an even more elaborate setup.
During recess, the front of Yitzi’s school is like a carnival. No, more like a casino:
There are a few things about this phenomenon that I find particularly difficult to understand:
- It’s all about apricot pits. That’s it. No other seeds/pits/etc. are suitable. It is a mystery why apricots were honored with this tradition.
- At no point are the apricot seeds redeemable for anything of real value. Yet they are highly sought-after.
- Even though the pits used have been saved for some time, even years, the game is only played in its season. It seems Opening Day was yesterday. There was no ramp-up, or early smattering of boxes; everyone shows up on the appointed day ready to go. It isn’t clear yet how long the season lasts, but I’m guessing it will be over long before the concurrently-commencing MLB campaign.
UPDATE: We have a new entrant into the apricot seed casino biz: