El Sol Loteria


Loteria, like bingo, uses cards with pictures instead of numbers as the playing pieces. When the caller reads out a card’s name, players mark it on their boards using tokens such as pinto beans, crown corks, or small rocks to keep it for keeping purposes on their boards – the first player who gets four consecutive in a row will win!

This study compares two COVID-19 Mexican loteria artworks to identify their similarities and distinctions using social semiotic resources.


Loteria is a classic card game played throughout Mexico and Latinx communities, providing a fun way to learn Spanish while creating social commentary. Furthermore, this activity fosters community spirit and makes for a great family game night. According to Yvette Benavides’ words, Loteria “is more than just a card game; it gives life.”

Loteria’s history can be traced back to Italy in the 15th century and Spain after that. Later, it found its way to Mexico in the 1700s as part of its cultural legacy. Like bingo but using images rather than numbers, players mark spaces on a board using tokens such as crown corks or pinto beans; those who complete all spots win.

Loteria has experienced a dramatic revival during the COVID-19 pandemic, with new variations emerging to keep players entertained and involved. There are even apps dedicated to playing Loteria with friends; more creative versions even feature cards with political messages; one card features a woman wearing a red costume while holding her sombrero, while another depicts a man without his weapon to show nonviolence sensibilities.

Reviving Loteria’s popularity has resulted in its usage and meaning being extended further than initially intended. Many have begun using its cards creatively – from crafting to decoupage! Artists have also used Loteria as inspiration, including Alfaro’s Millennial Loteria game featuring pandemic-themed cards, which use a filter system for random selection during gameplay.


Loteria, similar to bingo but using images instead of numbers, was initially played in Italy before traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to New Spain (modern Mexico) in 1769. Once established there, it quickly gained popularity at traveling fairs called “ferias,” where it could be played for money. Today, it remains one of the most beloved traditional Mexican games, with players using a deck of cards containing images and names for each card; tabla (board) options can vary, and tokens such as raw beans could traditionally be used, but now any item such as pennies or beads could also work; the first player who gets four passes in a row wins!

At the outset of each game, a caller (cantor) shuffles and announces each card by name before reading a verse or riddle in Spanish. Players then find matching pictures on their board and mark them with tokens – traditionally small rocks, crown corks, or pinto beans in Mexico are used – until a player hits four consecutive pictures and declares victory with shouts of “!Buenas!” or “!Loteria!”.

Loteria is an easy game for kids and parents or grandparents to understand, making it ideal for families playing together. Many families prefer adding a level of difficulty by simultaneously playing several boards; members could choose their cards in hopes of winning a prize; others even use Loteria as part of their celebration of Dia de los Muertos or special holidays such as Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. Recently, a TV show based around Loteria premiered on CBS, featuring two contestants competing for a grand prize of $1 Million!


During the coronavirus pandemic, many people sought solace from puzzles and board games such as Loteria – the Mexican version of Bingo. Players mark images on cards using beans, bottle caps, or pennies before shouting “Loteria!” upon getting four in a row to celebrate victory. Artists have even created unique renditions of this traditional game to reflect modern culture more effectively.

Originating in Italy during the 15th century, dominoes made their way through Spain to Mexico during the 18th century. Over its long history, dominoes have come to represent various aspects of Mexican culture and folklore, such as Death (La Muerte), Diablo (The Devil), or other figures from Mexican culture – images that may inspire more profound thought about life itself.

Some variations of Loteria cards feature images related to specific themes, like Christmas or Easter. Furthermore, some come equipped with short verses or riddles for players to recite while playing, making Loteria an excellent way of teaching children about holidays and cultures through games like this one.

Other loteria cards feature more traditional symbols, like animals, plants, and flowers. These loteria cards can help teach children about nature; for instance, if a child picks one with a bird, they could explain that the bird represents a Blue Jay to other players in a game.

Another variation of Loteria is pesticide safety-themed loteria cards, which can be purchased from the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Project and include an instruction guide written both in English and Spanish. This game follows the tradition set by Don Clemente Gallo, who popularized traditional Loteria. This game also contains instructions in both languages; Don Clemente Gallo was known to include this game with his original classic loteria set.


El Sol Loteria’s top prize, known as El Gordo, is given away every year on December 22. During its draw, its number is publicly announced via television broadcast and all lottery outlets, while decimals are randomly drawn from socks filled with numbers. If a number matches one of the prizes shown, that winner receives that amount immediately while the remaining prizes are distributed throughout Spain; the total prize amount is calculated using price per decimal multiplied by the number of participating tickets. El Gordo reached over EUR2.4 billion last year! Such a staggering sum has helped make El Gordo so popular among players and helped boost El Sol Loteria’s popularity!

This game can be found throughout Spain in shops known as “administraciones,” online retailers, and street vendors; its prices tend to be lower. Cards feature white backgrounds with nature or art images at their centers and cost 3 to 5 euros each; some come equipped with bonus symbols that double your prize (Bonus x2).

Various prizes ranging from food and beverages, clothing, and electronics are available through these cards; plants and fruit, musical instruments, Spanish flags, umbrellas, and pandemic-related imagery are featured, among others. Each card also displays different pictures depicting plants or fruit with musical instruments; several cards even bear this imagery!

Loteria has long been part of Latinx culture, and there are now various versions available to play. Artists such as Mike Alfaro (Millennial Loteria creator) have begun reinventing Loteria cards to represent our new reality – hand sanitizer and working from home among them! Additionally, Google recently honored this tradition by featuring it with an interactive doodle on their homepage.


Loteria is an increasingly popular card game that has become an integral part of Mexican culture, its symbols appearing on tarot cards and divination practices alike. Originating in 15th-century Italy and later adopted by Mexico, this traditional 78-card deck combines 22 Major Arcana with 56 Minor Arcana to form the Loteria deck; these suits correspond with the zodiacal signs or sefiroth in Judaism; numbers associated with colors are associated with different themes related to love relationships health work spirituality or life itself.

Many of the pictures on these cards resemble those on tarot cards yet have different meanings. For instance, some symbols represent plants, such as palm trees and watermelons, while others symbolize food or musical instruments. Some cards depict commonplace items like flags or bicycles, while Card 46 (The Sun) represents vitality and good luck.

Loteria cards are organized according to suit, with 54 cards from each case arranged according to case containing pictograms on either side. A caller (cantor) shuffles the deck before reading each card aloud and proclaiming its name before showing its picture. Each player marks each card on his or her tabla with beans or other objects, hoping for four in a row either across, down, or diagonally; the first person who achieves this wins the game.

Since people were increasingly bored during the pandemic, Loteria became an exciting way for people to pass the time at home. Artists such as Ruiz and Alfaro have begun reinventing the classic Loteria decks to fit our modern culture – they have designed versions featuring hand sanitizer and other symbols from our daily lives as part of their interpretations of traditional Loteria decks.