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Minnesotans Play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck Instead of Goose. But Why?

We all know that in Minnesota, kids play duck, duck, gray duck, right?  What I didn’t know while growing up, is that everyone else plays duck, duck, goose and they think we are weird for not playing it that way.

This is such a trivial thing, but what is the reason for us Minnesotans playing that differently than anyone else?

Here ya go- this is what I have found as the reason.

Overall, this is a complete mystery.  Although, there are some educated guesses as to why this is the case.  It stems from early settlers from either Sweden or Norway or a combination of the two countries.  Basically, it’s Scandinavian.

The Minneapolis Star/Tribune did a story on this a couple of years ago.  They found that there are two versions of the game in Sweden.

…one called “Anka Anka Gås,” which translates into “Duck, Duck Goose.” The other was “Anka Anka Grå Anka,” which translates into “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.”

The theory goes that the Swedes who played the second version, “Grå Anka,” were the ones that settled in Minnesota.

Keep in mind that this is just a theory, but it seems pretty legit.  But there is another thought about how the game came about.  Basically through a game of telephone.  Sort of.

These things spread from child to child, from one adult to another. There is no fixed text,” said Anatoly Liberman, a University of Minnesota professor specializing in linguistics and folklore. For example, although many kids grew up playing “Mother, May I?” others played “Captain, May I?”

Here is the strange part… people from Scandinavian countries didn’t only settle in Minnesota.  Yet Minnesota is the ONLY state that plays this version of the game.  So, the mystery continues, but this does seem like a believable reason as to the “why”.

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