As part of the Latino Heritage Month celebration, the Latino Heritage Committee, in collaboration with the city Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department, will offer virtual “lotería,” or lottery, a traditional holiday pastime among Latinos, on Friday, Oct. 9.
Lotería is believed to have originated in Italy, then moved to Spain, and finally came to Mexico around 1769. It was a game of chance that the colonial Mexican elite played but later was embraced by all social classes.
Lotería spread across Mexico in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as traveling “ferias,” or fairs, reached Mexican farms and towns that were few and far between. The ferias would set up in these ranchlands and small towns on the weekends, and many people would go out to them especially to play lotería.
The game is very similar to bingo, where a number with an associated letter is randomly chosen from a rotating drum. In lotería, a card with a colorfully illustrated image is drawn from a special deck of 54 cards. Modern versions of these cards also contain the name of the image at the bottom and an associated number at the top.
In both games, each player has a different game board, or “tabla.” In bingo, an announcer calls out the selected letters and numbers and the players mark their game boards accordingly. In lotería, the announcer gives an improvised short poem or familiar phrase alluding to the image on the card. Each player uses a chip – sometimes a kernel of corn or a bean – to mark the corresponding spot on the tabla.
In either game, the first player to appropriately fill the game board or tabla in a predefined pattern will shout either “Bingo!” or “Lotería!” to win the game and receive the prize.
Friday’s virtual lotería will basically be the same – except that one doesn’t go to a traditional “feria” or gathering, and instead plays the game online.
The event, called Lotería Game Night, begins at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom, and is for ages 15 and up. Registration is required before the event to be able to play.
To register, go to this link, fill out the online form, and submit. Instructions on how to access the virtual game will be sent after you register.
All month long, Latino Heritage Month in Pasadena offers a series of culturally rich virtual events, including a Latino Heritage Scavenger Hunt, a Lil’ Libros Bilingual Storytime, a virtual “Concinando con El Cholo” Sabor Latino cooking demonstration, and a “Dia de Los Muertos” drive-in movie featuring Disney’s “Coco.”
To know more about these events and how to join, visit the Latino Heritage Month webpage.