If you have any experience with the Hispanic culture, then you have probably heard of and maybe even had a chance to play “La Loteria”. As a pastime La Loteria has kept millions entertained over the years with its colorful and imaginative cards. Even though it’s been enjoyed by many, few know about its origins and history. So for those of us who are interested here are some interesting facts about La Loteria.
Interestingly enough the game originated in Europe and came to Mexico with the Spanish. The game is very similar to bingo and is in fact often referred to as the Mexican bingo. Although similar to bingo, the differences are soon apparent both visually and intellectually as your mind engages the symbolism.
Where bingo is merely matching numbers being called aloud with the numbers on the individuals’ cards, La Loteria offers much more in the way of amusing pictures which sometimes tell a story in themselves. In fact, La Loteria has more uses then just a pass time, or game of chance. La Loteria has been used for educational purposes because the pictures on the cards are also named. They are used to teach both reading and writing and in some cases are used to teach reading, writing, history, and social values. In the United States some teachers use the game as a teaching tool in bilingual classes.
The traditional and most recognized version of La Loteria is most certainly the “Don Clemente Gallo” version introduced in Mexico in 1887 by the French businessman, Don Clemente Jacques. Today the game is still produced in this familiar form by the “Don Clemente Gallo Pasatiempos”. As Mexican culture spread across the border, so did the demand for the game within the United States. The original Don Clemente Gallo Lotería game can be purchased today not only in Mexico but also in the United States.
Most recently the artwork for the game has even found its way to t-shirts.