Loteraya: Your One-Stop Shop for Everything Lottery
Loteraya: A Fun and Colorful Mexican Game of Chance
If you are looking for a fun and easy way to learn about Mexican culture, you might want to try playing loteraya. Loteraya is a traditional game of chance, similar to bingo, but using images on a deck of cards instead of numbered balls. Every image has a name and an assigned number, but the number is usually ignored. Loteraya is more than just a game, it is also a form of art, education, and identity that reflects the diversity and richness of Mexico. In this article, we will explore what loteraya is, how it is played, why it is popular, and how you can play it at home or online.
What is loteraya and how is it played?
Loteraya (Spanish word meaning "lottery") is a game that originated in Italy in the 15th century and was brought to Mexico by the Spanish colonizers in the 18th century. It was initially a hobby of the upper classes, but eventually it became a tradition at Mexican fairs and celebrations. Loteraya is played with a deck of 54 cards, each with a different picture and name. Some of the most common pictures are el gallo (the rooster), la dama (the lady), el catrín (the gentleman), la sirena (the mermaid), el diablito (the little devil), and la muerte (death).
To play loteraya, each player needs at least one tabla, a board with a randomly created 4 x 4 grid of pictures with their corresponding name and number. Players choose a tabla from a variety of previously created tablas, each with a different selection of images. A designated card announcer randomly picks a card from the deck and announces it to the players by its name, sometimes using a verse or a riddle before reading the card name. For example, the announcer might say "El que canta su mal espanta" (He who sings scares away his troubles) before revealing el gallo. Each player locates the matching picture of the card just announced on their board and marks it off with a chip or other kind of marker. In Mexico, it is traditional to use small rocks, crown corks or pinto beans as markers. The winner is the first player that shouts "Lotería!" or "Buena!" right after completing a tabla or a previously agreed pattern: row, column, diagonal, or a pozo (a special combination).
The origin and history of loteraya
Loteraya has a long and fascinating history that spans centuries and continents. The game originated in Italy in the 15th century as a form of lottery that was used to raise funds for public projects. It then spread to Spain, where it was adapted to include images instead of numbers. The Spanish brought the game to Mexico in 1769, where it was initially played by the aristocracy.
The game underwent several changes over time to reflect the social norms and political events of Mexico. One of the best known versions was created by Frenchman Clemente Jacques in 1887. His version featured colorful illustrations that became iconic in Mexican culture. He also copyrighted his version in 1913, which gave him exclusive rights to produce and distribute the game in Mexico. His version was also distributed to. the United States, where it became popular among the Mexican-American communities.
Another influential version was created by Don Clemente Gallo in 1910. His version featured images that represented the Mexican Revolution, such as el soldado (the soldier), el valiente (the brave one), and la bandera (the flag). His version also introduced new verses and riddles for the card announcer to use.
Today, loteraya is still widely played in Mexico and other parts of the world. It has also inspired many artists and activists to create their own versions of the game, using different themes and images to express their views and values. Some examples are loteraya feminista (feminist loteraya), loteraya LGBT+ (LGBT+ loteraya), loteraya de la resistencia (loteraya of resistance), and loteraya de los muertos (loteraya of the dead).
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The symbols and meanings of the loteraya cards
The loteraya cards are not only colorful and attractive, but also full of symbolism and meaning. Each card represents an aspect of Mexican culture, history, or folklore. Some cards have religious connotations, such as el corazón (the heart), la estrella (the star), el mundo (the world), and el ángel (the angel). Some cards have historical references, such as el soldado, el valiente, la bandera, and el apache (the Apache). Some cards have folkloric elements, such as la sirena, el diablito, la calavera (the skull), and el nopal (the cactus). Some cards have everyday objects or animals, such as el barril (the barrel), la botella (the bottle), el perro (the dog), and el pescado (the fish).
Each card also has a deeper meaning or message that can be interpreted in different ways. For example, el gallo can symbolize courage, pride, or singing. La dama can symbolize beauty, elegance, or femininity. El catrín can symbolize wealth, sophistication, or deception. La sirena can symbolize fantasy, seduction, or danger. El diablito can symbolize mischief, temptation, or evil. La muerte can symbolize fate, change, or transformation.
Some cards also have a humorous or ironic twist that reflects the Mexican sense of humor. For example, el borracho (the drunk) is next to la botella, el músico (the musician) is next to el violoncello (the cello), el alacrán (the scorpion) is next to la rosa (the rose), and la escalera (the ladder) is next to el cañón (the cannon).
The variations and adaptations of loteraya
Loteraya is a game that can be easily modified and adapted to suit different preferences and occasions. There are many variations of loteraya that use different rules, patterns, prizes, or themes. Some of the most common variations are:
Loteraya rápida: A fast-paced version where the announcer picks two cards at a time instead of one.
Loteraya inversa: A reverse version where the winner is the last player to complete a tabla or a pattern.
Loteraya acumulada: An accumulated version where the winner gets all the prizes from previous rounds that were not claimed.
Loteraya personalizada: A personalized version where the players create their own tablas with pictures of their choice.
Loteraya temática: A thematic version where the cards and tablas are based on a specific topic, such as movies, music, sports, or animals.
Loteraya can also be adapted to different languages and cultures. For example, there are versions of loteraya in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and other languages. There are also versions of loteraya that use images from other countries or regions, such as loteraya americana (American loteraya), loteraya europea (European loteraya), loteraya asiática (Asian loteraya), and loteraya africana (African loteraya). Why is loteraya popular and important in Mexican culture?
Loteraya is more than just a game, it is also a cultural phenomenon that reflects the essence of Mexico. Loteraya is popular and important in Mexican culture for several reasons:
Loteraya as a form of art and expression
Loteraya is a form of art and expression that showcases the creativity and diversity of Mexican artists. The loteraya cards are not only beautiful and colorful, but also meaningful and symbolic. They depict the various aspects of Mexican culture, history, and folklore, as well as the values and beliefs of the Mexican people. The loteraya cards are also a source of inspiration for many artists who create their own versions of the game, using different themes and images to convey their messages and opinions. Loteraya is a way of celebrating and preserving the Mexican identity and heritage through art.
Loteraya as a tool for education and socialization
Loteraya is a tool for education and socialization that helps people learn and have fun at the same time. Loteraya is a game that can be played by anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. It is a game that teaches people about the Mexican culture, history, and language, as well as basic skills such as counting, reading, and listening. Lo