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Play Mexican Bingo for Prizes and Aperitivos
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Monday, May 22, 2023
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Play a game of chance, also known as Mexican bingo, when Loteria Night makes its debut at Hailey’s Town Center West.

The new monthly bilingual community night will debut from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 25, and be held on the fourth Thursay of each month going forward.

It will feature loteria, a traditional game of chance sometimes referred to as Mexican bing o and plaed with a deck of 54 colorful cards. The free, family-friendly event will feature door prizes and aperitivos.

Loteria night is hosted by Hailey Publi library and Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

Players use a board called a tabla, which is laid out like a bingo card, and contains 16 of the 54 colorful images. If the image on a player’s board matches the image the cantor calls out, the player marks it by placing a pinto bean on the square. Just like bingo, the first person to make a certain pattern with the beans is the winner and shouts “Lotería!”

“Loteria originated in 15th century Italy and was brought by colonizers to the area we now call Mexico in the 1700s where it quickly gained popularity,” said the library’s programs and engagement manager Kristin Fletcher.  “A designated caller, or cantor, selects a card from the deck, which features a culturally relevant image like a fruit, person, animal, cultural symbol or various personalities. Really good cantors add to the festive atmosphere with their banter, word play and innuendo, sometimes referencing contemporary events and politics.” 

Lotería is not only the most popular game in Mexico but is also widespread in Spanish-speaking communities throughout the United States and Europe.  Since each card includes the name of the image and a brief, descriptive phrase, the game is sometimes used to teach reading, writing, history, language and cultural values. 


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