The samples of a ball were found in archeological excavations of 1,5-thousand-year old inuit sites. The Eskimo ball was a symbol of the Sun, the image of the Universe for the indigenous people of northern Siberia, Alaska and Canada.
In earlier times the ball had basically sacral meaning, and people started to play the ball with arrival of a new hunting season.
The appearance of the ball symbolized the beginning of the new year. The game with ball was most important in ceremonies. To throw a ball in game to each other still symbolizes a message of goodwill and warm feelings, and the sound that the little stones make inside of a ball means repel bad luck and evil.
The remarkable Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392), a planetary nebula (Hubble photo, NASA)