Let’s Have a Boodle Fight!

It was a mysterious moment. Everyone suddenly seemed in a hurry and obviously hungry people put the tables out of the houses, forming one large at least 10 meter long plate besides the gym of the Children’s Village. Then, other children came up with huge banana palm leafs which they posed right on the table. Kind of confused I turned to the next house mother and asked about the reason of the sudden spectacle. “Well,” she said, ”it’s time for a Boodle Fight now!”. What? A Boodle Fight? I knew about the common Filipino tradition to put all the food on a table covered by a large palm leaf and everyone grabs the food from there. But a fight? “Yes!” she replied. “Everyone gets around the table and waits for the starting signal! The excitement rises until the signal finally comes. Then, everyone tries to eat as much as possible and the best bits and pieces first, from the shared plate!”

I was really impressed. In Germany you couldn’t even imagine such a collective feast. Initially it seems to be invented by military circles. Soldiers have a “Boodle Fight” whenever there is a special day or celebration. At that point I didn’t know that, although I couldn’t be patient to wait for the start. But before, literally tons of food had to be carried from the houses towards the gym. I got a pretty filled up wok from the green house and brought it to its destination. We also places water buckets aside to ensure clean hands. The meal was Bihon Guisado with lots and lots of rice. It was distributed all over the table and the children already lined up around it. After everything was prepared, Rose, one of the social workers gave the signal and the whole village started to crap food! It was hilarious, but great fun. We always tried to get to small pork pieces, but there was enough for everyone and there were only winners. All the “fighters” were delighted and we volunteers learnt about an incomparable and yet funny tradition that give a nice feeling of collectivness. I am looking forward to start a “Boodle Fight” back in Germany, perhaps combined with a nice BBQ!

 

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