top of page

The history of the lotería mexicana 🐓

In the middle of the quarantine caused by Covid-19 pandemic, perhaps you already realized that not everything is Netflix, social networks or video games, and that an excellent alternative to have fun with the family are traditional board games. Among these, the lotería mexicana will always be a good option.

Full of colors, objects, animals and characters that are part of our culture, we can find in it a synonym of fun for the whole family. But what is the history behind the popular game?

Well, the first thing we should know is that it is a very old game. It had its origins in Italy in the 14th century and was brought to New Spain (Mexico) in the late 17th century, for a time, it was played almost exclusively by the upper classes of the colony.

Originally, the game was called lotto (due to its Italian origin) and consisted of drawing 5 numbers out of a total of 90, each number was associated with an image.

Between 1810 and 1821 it became a daily pastime among the soldiers who participated in the Mexican War of Independence.

After independence it gained popularity, so much so that it was a fundamental part of the fairs, where it was usually gambling for money and used tin sheets or hand-painted wooden boards. The images were generally marked by another very Mexican element: the grains of corn, or beans.

It was very common to find the lotería game cards in the squares and fairs throughout the country. Popular poetry was present, when the character dedicated to "singing" it recited verses alluding to the images of the cards in the game. By the way, we will talk about how the lottery is sung in another publication.

Currently we could say that it has been played, and although it has lost popularity in the face of video games, it is still played in the homes of most Mexicans, making this board game the most famous and well-known in our country.

Although the lotería mexicana already had little more than a century of being played with simple hand-painted images, it was in 1887 that the French businessman Clemente Jacques took it as inspiration to capture them in his cans of chili peppers and canned preserves, which made popular the illustrations that everyone knows.

The most recognized deck is that of the lotería El gallo Don Clemente, which continues to be reproduced in Mexico and the United States by Pasatiempos Gallo®, which is copyrighted.

What this popular game consists of and how it is played is what we will talk about in the next post.

For now, we are already witnessing how the images of the lotería mexicana are found on caps, mugs, bags, shirts, hats and all kinds of souvenirs, or tattoos. In short, they have become icons of the culture and traditions of our country. Which of the cards is your favorite?

Con información de El Universal y México Desconocido.

191 views0 comments


bottom of page