La Lotería: A Mexican Bingo Game
Loteria arrived in Mexico the last half of the 18th century. It began as a Spanish colonial card game played for amusement by the social elite, but was eventually played by all social classes. Unlike bingo, loteria is played using a board filled with colorful illustrations and instead of numbers being drawn, cards with corresponding images are selected from a stack. There is yet another twist, the announcer does not simply say the name of the image, traditionally he recites a poem or phrase to hint at what the card depicts before revealing it by name.
Prior to the Spanish colonization of Mexico, the Aztecs of Mesoamerica played a similar game of chance called Patolli, which means beans in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. High wagers were placed on a Patolli game, sometimes resulting in the loss of home, freedom and family members. The main objective of the game is to move a marker across 52 squares on an X shaped game board. Beans, or patolli, with a painted white dot on one side would determine the passage of a player’s markers.
Today, loteria is often played using beans as markers and can be utilized as an informal educational language tool. The Traditional Instrument Loteria, created by the Arizona State Museum, is an example of how this fun game can be a way to learn Spanish and Yaqui words, as well as an excellent introduction to Yaqui and Mexican culture.
Description Credit: Arizona State MuseumRead More »