If you’ve ever spent time in Minnesota, you may have heard something a little different than the classic game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” played throughout much of the United States. In Minnesota, it’s “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.” This game variation has puzzled many outsiders, but for Minnesotans, it’s just how it’s always been. So why do Minnesotans say “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” instead of “Duck, Duck, Goose”?
The Story behind Minnesota’s Beloved Game: Duck, Duck, Gray Duck
Regarding childhood games, “Duck, Duck, Goose” is probably one of the most universally recognized. However, for Minnesotans, there’s a twist on this classic game that sets it apart from the rest. Instead of shouting “goose” as the chosen player runs around the circle, Minnesotans say “gray duck” instead. Why do they do this, and how did this regional variation of the game come to be?
The History of “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck”
“Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” is not just a random change to the original “Duck, Duck, Goose” game. Rather, it has roots in Scandinavian culture, which has a similar game called “Anka Anka Grå Anka” (which translates to “Duck Duck Gray Duck”). Minnesota has a large population of people with Scandinavian heritage, so it’s unsurprising that this game version became popular in the state.
It is believed that the game was brought over to the United States by Scandinavian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It then evolved into the version that Minnesotans play today.
Why “Gray Duck” Instead of “Goose”?
While “duck, duck, goose” may roll off the tongue easily, Minnesotans swear by their game version. For those who grew up playing “duck, duck, gray duck,” it’s a cherished childhood memory that they continue to pass down to their children and grandchildren.
But why choose “gray duck” over “goose”? According to some studies, “gray duck” is a more accurate translation of the original Scandinavian game. The word “and” in Swedish (the language spoken in Sweden, Norway, and parts of Finland) can mean either “duck” or “gray duck,” depending on the context. So, if we translate “Anka Anka Grå Anka” word for word, it would be “Duck Duck Gray Duck.”
Additionally, some Minnesotans argue that “gray duck” adds unpredictability to the game. After all, “goose” is a much more common and expected choice for the chosen player to run around the circle. By choosing “gray duck,” the game becomes more unique and exciting.
Duck Duck Gray Duck Minnesota T-Shirt
Minnesotans love to show their pride for their state and its unique traditions, which is why “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” shirts have become popular. They’re a fun way to celebrate the regional variation of the classic game and let others know you’re from Minnesota.
“Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” may seem slightly different from the original “Duck, Duck, Goose,” but for Minnesotans, it’s a beloved childhood game with a lot of meaning. This unique variation has roots in Scandinavian culture and has been passed down through generations of families in the state. If you ever find yourself playing “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” with Minnesotans, don’t be surprised if you’re chosen as the “gray duck” instead of the “goose”!
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