‘Marro’ and ‘estornija’

‘Marro’ and ‘estornija’
2024. ‘Marro’ and ‘estornija’. Reproduction of an original from the middle of last century, Tartanedo (Guadalajara) made by artisan Luis Larriba Cabezudo. Photo by Miguel Ángel Fernández Auñón © Archivo Escuela Provincial de Folklore

‘Marro’ and ‘estornija’

The technique for making this toy is to carve the marro from oak and the estornija from plum tree wood. In another village, Villanueva de Alcorón, the game is called chueca.

We have taken the rules from blog de amigos de Luzón, a village in the Señorío de Molina region, and you will find further information there.

The estornija is a stick 15-30 centimetres long and sharpened at both ends, called pite. You hit one end with the marro (known as «pitar la estornija») so that it flies off. The marro is a hard wooden rod which does not splinter easily of about 50-60 centimetres which you use to hit the estornija. The marro is the measuring unit in this game.

The game is played by two teams, there is no limit to the number of players but, to avoid slowing the dynamics of the game down, 2-4 members is ideal. (More than six members per team is not recommended). To make up the teams the captains «echar a pies» (they place one foot in front of the other until they can move no further) and then choose the team members taking turns. Once the teams are ready, they draw lots to see who starts. The first team then whacks the estornija and the other team tries to catch it.

Even though you don´t need to mark out the playing area, it is best to set limits depending on the terrain. The marro is placed on a kerb, raised area or stone, and splits the playing area in two parts. The playing area itself is behind the marro and the area in front to which you whack the estornija and where the other team waits to try and catch it.

Who wins? Before the game the teams agree the number of «cruces» (catches) needed to win. It could also be a fractional number, for example, two «cruces» and a «mía», a «mía» being a distance of six marros. The winner is the first team to reach the agreed score. Sometimes the teams must finish their turn and if both teams reach the winning score, the team with the most «medidas» wins. Usually, though, the first team to reach the winning score wins.