In honor of Latino Heritage Month, Cal Poly’s MultiCultural Center (MCC) and Student Life and Leadership will host “Loteria,” a traditional Mexican bingo game at the University Union (UU) Plaza. The event will also include a Dia de los Muertos, otherwise known as “day of the dead,” twist to celebrate the lives of the deceased.
Loteria — Spanish for lottery — is a board game played on a four-by-four card. Unlike bingo, which customarily calls out numbers and letters, loteria uses pictures and Spanish words. The object of the game is to correspond the Spanish word the announcer says with the picture on the player’s card, attempting to get four horizontally or vertically. The game featured in the UU will attempt to parallel as much Mexican culture as possible.
Biological sciences junior and lead advocate for Latino Heritage Series Devon Buddan said MCC will make the game as close to the traditional version as possible.
“Traditionally in Mexico, they will use beans as markers,” Buddan said. “So, when we play the game, we’ll actually be using pinto beans. When you win, you say ‘Loteria!’, and everyone says ‘Bueno!’”
Originating in the 1800s, the game came to Mexico from Spain and “it (became) a common game to play in Mexican-American households,” said architecture junior and member of Movimiento Estudiantil Xicano de Aztlán (MEXA) Angela Varela.
Even though Varela has played this game various times with her family, the event held last year in the UU taught her things she didn’t know before.
“I’ve played the game before many times, (but) I didn’t know that there were (so) many variations of the loteria characters,” Varela said. “The one I played at the event had caricatures of different skeleton characters.”
Not only do the pictures stand out, but the game is featuring a “day of the dead” variation.
“There is going to be a Dia de los Muertos twist,” Buddan said. “We’re incorporating (this) twist to celebrate Halloween. (We’ve planned) a lot of arts and crafts ideas for students. This year, we’ll most likely have clay skulls as well as paints and brushes. People will get to decorate it (their) own way.”
Participants of last year recall the decorations and vibrant creativity of attendees who adorned paper skulls.
“At the Dia de los Muertos event held by the MCC and MEXA (last year), I really enjoyed looking at the many different items (placed) at the altar,” Varela said. “(There were) items ranging from photographs of loved ones to (decorative) candy skulls.”
Even though the event is in its second year, MCC assistant coordinator James Rymel said it is not an annual event.
“(The MCC) has been doing this event consistently for a few years but (it doesn’t mean) Loteria itself is an annual thing — it is more like a traditional culture thing,” Rymel said.
Additionally, partakers of last year are anticipating this year to be as exciting as the previous years.
“I expect it to be as fun as it was last year,” Varela said. “Hopefully, I get to see more people come to the event and have a good time.”
Loteria will be in the on Tuesday, Nov. 2 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.