Lotería


Lotería playing cards

Lotería.”

No, don’t say it like that. Say it louder.

“¡Lotería!

No, no, no! Scream it like you mean it! Yell it with passion! Now try it again.

“¡Lotería!

That’s much better. Now listen to me: “¡Lotería! ¡Lotería! ¡Lotería!” Did you hear the tone of my spine-tingling, blood-curdling, eardrum-shattering scream. You have to make your voice demand the attention of everyone in the room and the surrounding environs in order to brag to the world that you are the proud winner of ¡Lotería! Now get ready to be awarded your prize: a pack of Chiclets.

When we were little, we always played Lotería, whether we were in Chicago or Mexico. Lotería is a game very similar to Bingo–and sometimes people call it Mexican Bingo–where each player places markers on a card as the names of squares are called out. The first player to fill the entire card shouts, “¡Lotería!” and usually wins a small prize. Each card contains 25 pictures with the names listed below: La rosa, La dama, El valiente, El barril, etc. The names of the pictures are called out from a deck of cards that contains all the pictures. The cards are shuffled and called at random. The pictures on the card are marked by uncooked pinto beans. I always have fun playing Lotería. Especially when I win and I get to shout, “¡Lotería!” At our last family picnic, we played Lotería for 25 cents per card and the winner won the pot. It was certainly more exciting than playing for Chiclets.

When we were little, we once played Lotería with my cousins at their house. When we returned the next week, my mother noticed that my cousin Lulu had a strange odor emanating from her face. When my mother approached Lulu, she noticed that Lulu had extremely bad breath. My mother couldn’t understand how a five-year-old could have such foul-smelling breath. My mother looked in Lulu’s mouth, but saw nothing. However, while looking in Lulu’s mouth, my mother saw something suspicious in Lulu’s nose. My mother couldn’t tell what it was because it was so far up into her nasal passage. My mother and my aunt Marcela held Lulu down forcefully and used tweezers to pull the foreign object out of Lulu’s nose. Both my mother and my aunt shouted, “¡Ay, Díos mío!” They had extracted an uncooked pinto bean from Lulu’s nose. But the pinto bean had been in her nose so long that it had sprouted roots! Lulu must have put the pinto bean in her nose the week before when we played Lotería. So beware the dangers of playing Lotería, niños!

¡Lotería! ¡Lotería! ¡Lotería!

Published by

David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.

2 thoughts on “Lotería

  1. Hey David!
    That is so funny, like your cousin Lulu, I also got a black bean inside my nose when i was little and I was afraid to tell my mom until it got infected.
    Now that you mentioned, I do not think it was playing lotería. In Guatemala (where I come from), we used maíz instead of frijoles pintos when we played lotería.
    Que pase buenas noches:)

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