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On Tuesday Sept. 19, UIS saw its first round of a Loteria night! Hosted by the student organization Women of Distinction, the event was a fun way to celebrate Hispanic/Latin American History Month. But you may be asking yourself, what is Loteria? Well, it’s quite simple: Loteria is kind of a Mexican version of Bingo. Loteria means lottery in Spanish, it’s a traditional Mexican card game similar to Bingo but instead of numbers, in Loteria the cards are filled with colorful Spanish items or people – for example, La Bandera, El Gallo or El Nopal among many others.

This game has been played in Hispanic households for hundreds of years and is only growing, not only because of generations teaching generations but also due to its new updated and revamped versions that were released during the pandemic. This new version, known as Millennial Loteria from the creator Mike Alfaro. Ss suggested by the name, Millennial Loteria is the same fun card game but with updated images and names to suit a newer generation of Hispanic and non-Hispanic players. With card updates like switching La Luna (the moon) to El Makeup Tutorial, including an updated picture of the moon in makeup; or La Bandera (the flag) being switched to El Pride (pride) and including an updated picture switching the Mexican flag to a pride flag. As we can see, this creator took the classic game and modernized it with names and pictures of things a newer generation would be more familiar with. But he didn’t stop there: he also created a Gen Z version of Millennial Loteria, updating the game even more to include popular Gen Z things like TikTok, Crocs, a Ring Light and much more, now completely changing the traditional images and names of the game while still keeping its original essence.

Now, knowing a bit more of the game and its progression through time, we can see why hosting events like this is so important to a university campus and the spread of culture. During Tuesday’s event by Women of Distinction, we saw a great number of attendees with people from multiple different backgrounds. Three different versions of the game were offered – the traditional version, the millennial version, and the Gen Z version. After groups were formed, each group played a version and as groups finished, they passed the versions around until everyone got a chance to play all three versions, with winners of each round winning yummy traditional Mexican treats inside a little “mercado bag” made from colorful threaded plastic mesh, which is very commonly used when going to the market in Latin American countries.

Overall, it is important for events like these to occur on campus as it allows all students to learn more of a culture that may be different from theirs, in a fun way. By playing Loteria, people learn words in Spanish through a culturally Mexican game. Not only that, but through the traditional version people learn of important items of Mexican culture again like the sun, the cactus, and the rooster. We hope for more fun and cultural events to occur on campus as they are a great way for people to experience something new.

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