Many believe the Loteria board game was created in Italy in the 1400’s, then travelled to Spain, and eventually to Mexico in the late 1700’s.
Though colonial Mexican leaders initially played Loteria
as a hobby, all social classes eventually accepted it. By the 19th and 20th centuries, Mexican farms, ranchitos
, and towns were few and far between. Traveling ferias
would set up in ranches and small towns on the weekends, attracting many people to play a few rounds of Loteria
. It is now a family tradition, where everyone from Abuelos
to los niños
hopes to say,”Loteria!”
Loteria is a game of chance similar to the American style Bingo.
The Loteria cards are represented by characters, nature, objects, and animals significant to the culture. Every card has an image, name and an assigned number, but the number is usually ignored.
The caller may simply “call out” the name of the card or even more fun, “say a riddle for the picture ("the blanket of the poor,") meaning the Sun card).
Traditional ways to win:
Many Mexican families traditionally use small rocks, pennies or pinto beans as markers. The image below shows a classroom of kids enjoying a game of Loteria
is not only a fun board game, but also a functional tool. Making a Loteria
bookmark is a colorful, creative way to mark the page in your favorite book.