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Visit an authentic Mexican village fair and you will probably catch a game of Loteria in progress. Watch closely enough and you'll see a strong resemblance to Bingo! But instead of letters and numbers, Loteria players listen for images depicting different objects or animals to be called. They then mark the images on a 4 x 4 game board, known as a "tabla," using a pinto bean or soda cork. The first with four markers in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row shouts "LOTERIA!" or "BUENAS!" to win. Don Clemente owns the most popular version of the game, which includes a deck of 54 image cards. One of Mexico's most traditional and beloved pastimes, Loteria and its iconic images have become staples of Mexican culture since the game's introduction in 1887. Even in the U.S. and some parts of Europe, Loteria images can be found anywhere from advertising to artwork to language courses. Most Loteria enthusiasts have a special emotional or spiritual amore for certain Loteria images. Loteria callers, dubbed "cantors" or "singers," use cleverly improvised short poems or familiar phrases to announce the images drawn. This is where the real fun comes in. "The coat for the poor," for example, describes an image of the sun, while "the one who dies by mouth" signifies the fish. The world loves Loteria. Popular images such as the Heart, the Rose, the Moon, the Sun and others would make an appealing addition to your next scratch game.
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