Picigin ball game on Bacvice beach
Picigin ball game on Bacvice beach

Picigin game is a ball game originating from Split, typically played in the shallow sea waters of Bacvice, the most popular sandy beach in eastern part of the city.

It is very little known game in the world but it is one of the true uniqueness of Split city.

It is pronounced “pih-tsih-gheen” and it was played for the first time in 1908 by a group of Split students studying in Prague.  This game is always played on sandy beaches as it consists of lot of running, tumbling, falling and water splashing in very shallow waters.

Number of players are usually five standing in the sea water that is from ten (3.9 inch) to twenty centimeters (7.9 inch) deep. The more deeper sea slows down the game and the game looses its dynamism and attractiveness.

Picigin is a game where there are no winners and therefore it is difficult to talk about the strict rules.

The game’s goal is to keep passing around a small ball (the size of a squash ball) by hitting it with the palm of the hand and preventing it from falling into the sea.  The longer the ball remains in the air without falling, the more the whole game becomes attractive.

Picigin is a summer game but in Split you can see players in every season. It is also organized a special game on the New Year Eve.

Picigin game is a kind of prediction of incoming tourist season and warmer days. It is just normal to see this game playing already from March and April.

Picigin map
Picigin map

There is also an official website about this sport. The game spread in other parts of Croatia with various techniques like on Krk island, Medulin on Istria peninsula, Dubrovnik and Osijek, the only place that is not along the Adriatic coast.

Since 2005 picigin has its world Championship competition. The rules that are applied to determined who will be a new World Champion team, are related primarily to the number of ball touches and to artistic value and weight of each player’s  acrobatic skill.

On Pticica.com website you can see some interesting photos about this game where more and more even women take part.

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