Our Winter of Reading program encourages adults to discover the joy and rewards of reading while actually being rewarded. We are excited to share that the Winter of Reading program is also available in Spanish. This year we are doing events around the game, Lotería, with a special Spanish language only program called Lotería Literaria on January 24th at Puerto Rico 5280 (RSVP on Facebook).
Have you ever wondered about the origins of Lotería? Lotería began in Italy around 500 years ago with the name Lotto. Lotto was a bingo style game of chance in which players matched a number, associated with an image, that was called out loud to their carton of numbers. This game spread throughout Europe and came to New Spain (Mexico) in 1769. At that time the game was played by aristocrats and it wasn’t until after the Mexican Revolution that it became a popular game that everyone enjoyed.
The game of Lotería that we play today was popularized and commercialized by French businessman Clemente Jacques. The images found in his Don Clemente Loteria card set, such as La Dama, El Valiente, El Alacran or even La Botella (which has Clemente’s name illustrated along the top) reflect the Mexican culture in the late 19th century. There has even been a modern reboot of the game with a Millennial twist, described by its creator as, "Lotería, pero like, way more millennial."
Last year, a book published in Mexico explores the history of Lotería in which the author Jose E. Ortiz Lanz says “Es un tema digno de estudio ya que se están creando muchas obras de arte contemporáneas de la lotería, donde se reinterpreta la imagen de nosotros mismos.” This refers to the idea that Lotería should be studied, as modern representations and art lean on the original art created by Jacques, continuing to reflect Mexican culture and community.
If you are looking for fictional takes on the game Lotería try out the books Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano, Lotería and Other Stories by Rubén Mendoza, or the bilingual children’s picture book Playing Lotería = El juego de la lotería by René Colato Laínez.
To find upcoming programs in Spanish please see our Conexiones brochure.
This blog was written by Nicanor.