La Loteria

Meet the NEW Expats in Mexico

We are excited to reveal the new identity of our online magazine! As colorful and lively as Mexico itself, we dreamed of creating a vibrant new expression of what it means to be an Expat in Mexico. It’s about learning to be part of the culture, recognizing your effect on the community that your engaging with, and giving back while you start living your best life. Nothing represents that more than the fun and dynamic icons of La Loteria. We worked close with an artisit to produce these original representations of our new magazine categories. We have so much amazing content in store for you! So, buckle up and get ready for all of the incredible material that’s coming your way.

Meet our Magazine Categories

What is the Loteria?

Whether you’ve just moved to Mexico or have been here for a while, chances are you already know about La Loteria, (aka Mexican Bingo). The 54 infamous illustrations have made their way into restaurant art, t-shirts, mesh bags, Halloween costumes, and all other kinds of merchandise and adaptations. While it has been rebranded, re-imagined, and redone, the bright colors and classic characters are a pillar in Mexican art and lifestyle. 

But what do we really know about these images? Who did the art? Where does Loteria come from? 

The story of La Loteria begins the same way as the story of American Bingo. It all started in Italy as early as the 1530’s. It was a game that initially consisted of images and numbers. 

In the 1770’s, it made its way into France. Initially it was considered to be a game for the upper class, but was popularized and quickly spread. Germany, England, and Spain all playing a version with different combinations of images, letters, and numbers or lack thereof.

In Mexico, it was two different businessmen who would play a key part in making the game what it is today. The first was French businessman Clemente Jacques, who in 1887 would publish a version of Loteria that included El Soldado, among other figures, which made reference to the state of war that Mexico was in at that time. That version went on to be played at fairs and during religious holidays as a way to help the public forget the war and other political turmoil. 

Then, in 1895, businessman Jose Maria Evia Griñe decided people at home should be able to play it as well. He commissioned his artist friend Manuel F. Rojas to illustrate the 90 pictures which included symbols from the tarot like the moon and the sun. This set would become La Loteria Campechana, which you can still find versions of today. These illustrations, along with those of Clemente Jacques, became an elemental aspect of Mexico’s artistic identity. Both versions would go down in history and join as one to make the modern day version of Loteria that we all know and love today.

The game has gone through different ways of being played, (each figure having a rhyme or riddle that could go along) and has continued to be adapted, truly being a game of the people. As for the French businessman Clemente Jacques? He was so successful importing and commercializing goods, he opened the very first food processing factory in Mexico. It went so well, it’s still running to this day, and you’ve probably eaten Clemente Jacques canned jalapeños.

Stick a pin in that and next time you’re at a dinner party, a date, or at an event where there’s jalapeños or Loteria, you’ll have a fun fact that will be sure to get some “ooh”s and “aah”s. ¡Buena suerte!