Doodle: Celebrating Lotería!

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month – What is Lotería?

Lotería is a Mexican card game turned multiplayer experience via a Google Doodle. For many, the game Lotería brings back memories of family and laughter. When asked to describe Lotería, bingo is often referenced.

Published on Google 12-19-19

Go behind-the-scenes of today’s Doodle below!

Doodle celebrates the traditional Mexican card game, Lotería! It’s also our second-ever multiplayer experience: Play the game with friends in a private match, or match with users around the globe at random.

A smile instantly comes to my face every time I think of Lotería. I think of being with my extended family in Mexico for the holidays, scattering around my Tia Cruz’s house, anxiously waiting for a round to start. I think of us tossing beans at each other in attempts to distract the other from our boards. Most importantly, I think of the laughter, the excitement, and how all the worries of the world melted away as this game brought us together, even if just for a few hours.

So upon being prompted to think of possible interactive Doodles to create for the following year, Lotería almost instantly came to mind. I wondered: If this simple game was so magical and powerful in its original state, how might that be amplified in the digital space? And so the Lotería Doodle was born.

It was exciting to collaborate with five Mexican and Mexican-American illustrators to reimagine many of the classic Lotería game art for the Doodle—along with some new cards for a fun sorpresa! We also partnered with popular Mexican YouTuber Luisito Comunica, who serves in the iconic role of game card announcer for the Doodle.

Although it has changed a great deal since being officially copyrighted in Mexico on this day 106 years ago, Lotería is still wildly popular today across Mexico and Latinx communities, whether as a Spanish language teaching tool or for family game night.

Originating in Italy in the 15th century, Lotería first moved to Spain before reaching Mexico in 1769. The rules are similar to bingo in that players mark spots on a tabla, or board, with a token (traditionally a raw bean) and attempt to fill it before all other players. A designated card announcer randomly pulls colorfully illustrated cards like “La Luna,” or “El Arbol,” and sometimes improvises poetic descriptions that match spaces on the tablas. A shout of “¡lotería!” or “¡buenas!” declares victory for one lucky player, ending the round. 

Characters on cards have been updated several times to reflect the social norms of the time. One of the best known versions was created in Mexico by Frenchman Clemente Jacques in 1887. The “Don Clemente Gallo” edition, copyrighted in 1913, features the imagery that’s become a form of folk art synonymous with Lotería.

Today, Lotería’s iconic imagery and the shared experience it fosters across people of any generation has become a source of pride and celebration for Mexican culture. Whether you play today with your familia or a new [email protected] around the world, we hope today’s Doodle inspires fun, curiosity, and a healthy dose of competencia 😉

 ¡Feliz Aniversario, Lotería!

⁠—Perla Campos
Global Marketing Lead, Google Doodle

Guest Artist Q&A

Today’s Doodle art was illustrated by the following guest artists: Mexico-based Chabaski, Mexico-born Cecilia, Hermosillo-born Luis Pinto, Los Angeles-based Loris Lora, and Mexico City-based Vals

Below, they share their thoughts behind the making of the Doodle:

Q: Why was this topic meaningful to you personally? 

Chabaski: I think playing Lotería is in every Mexican’s memory, and age doesn’t matter—everyone will enjoy playing it. In my case it’s been one of the family faves since I was a kid. 

Luis: Lotería is a game that is closely related to Mexican culture, my childhood memories, and my family. The characters, objects, colors, and dynamics of the game are also details that I feel very attracted to, along with the sense of identity La Lotería gives to Mexico and the Latinx / Latinamerican community.

Loris: Like many Latinxs, Lotería was a game I grew up with and loved. Our whole family and friends would get together and play at parties. 

Q: What are your first memories (or any memories) of playing Lotería?

Chabaski: I remember when I was around 6 years old, my mom and aunts would gather around a table and play for hours until we had to go home. We would bet a couple of pesos, which made it more fun.

Loris: I remember being 9 or 10 years old and playing Lotería with a group of older ladies at my parents’ friend’s house and using pinto beans as placeholders. I think there was one time my little brother and I kept winning against them.

Vals: One of the first memories I have of playing Lotería is from visiting my grandmother on Sunday afternoons where the family used to play, using rice grains instead of chips.

Q: What were your first thoughts when you were approached about the project?

Cecilia: Absolutely YES!

Luis: I was very excited to participate, especially knowing that there would be other artists involved.

Vals: I was surprised and then emotional, since it is a very iconic game.

Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for the cards you drew?

Luis: I drew inspiration from many sources for the cards, particularly from the patterns and colors that you can see in the alebrijes [colorfully painted imaginary creatures with elements from different animals], mexican handicrafts, and lucha libre [Mexican wrestling]. I enjoyed adding a Luchador [well known Mexican wrestler] to Lotería’s El Mundo card.

Q: Of the cards you worked on, which one is your favorite and why?

Chabaski: La Campana, because everywhere you go you can find one decorated according to where you are. Also La Mano, because I just love their shape.

Cecilia: My favorite is El Sol, because I always felt like the sun in the original set looked too serious. In a way, I think my sun turned out to be more joyful and warm—more “sunny” I would say. 

Luis: From the cards I worked on, my favorite is El Músico. The character, colors, and composition are very playful and redesigning it gave me a lot of joy. For me, it is an iconic Lotería card that is closely linked to the love the country of Mexico has for its music and artists.

Q: What message do you hope people take away from the Doodle?

Chabaski: I hope they can see how beautiful Mexican traditions are.

Loris: I hope people enjoy all the fun artistic interpretation of these classic cards. They were so much fun to work on.

Vals: I hope that people who live far from Mexico or Latin America discover this game and the traditional value it offers. And for people who have played Lotería, it would be beautiful if it awakens memories of their childhood.

Cecilia: To the people that grew up playing Lotería, I hope the Doodle awakes beautiful memories. I hope it makes them feel the way one feels when an old, beloved song starts playing unexpectedly on the radio.

For the people that have never played Lotería, I hope the Doodle gives them an excuse to take a break and have a good time with family and friends. I also hope it makes people want to get their own Lotería set.

Luis: I hope people will discover or rediscover this wonderful game with a new perspective through the vision of all the talent and the team involved in this project. That they can share it and have fun with it. And for the Mexican, Latinamerican / Latinx community, I hope that they can feel proud of their identity and the richness of their culture.

To learn more about the recreation of this game click here.