Tag Archives: #children #spanish #game

The Unlucky Loteria Tab

Informant: CS ; Interviewer’s best friend

“So when you play loteria, early on you start to pick your favorite tabla.”

Interviewer asks: “why do you think that is?”

“Oohh I’m not entirely sure. Like if I like had to take a guess, I think it’s because of um… repetition. Like you form a routine on one single playing card, so you begin to associate it with like good vibes.”

Interviewer asks: “can you elaborate?”

“Yeah so, there are certain like superstitions that go with playing loteria. The main one is that if you switch your playing card after losing, you’ll never win while you play that round. It’s only until you like, form a relationship with one of the 10 playing cards that you’ll win.”

Interviewer asks: “So what’s your lucky tab?”

“It’s 3.”

Interviewer asks: “Do you believe in that superstition?”

“I do! The saying we have in Spanish is ‘te salaste’. Loosely translated, it means ‘you salted yourself’. As in like, you cursed yourself for that round. Almost like you jinxed your own winning. It like gets serious when you’re like playing with older folk and they start betting on the game, like gambling almost. And like the unspoken rules are taken really seriously.”

interviewer asks: “do you think the unspoken rules are meant to be taken seriously?”

“I do. I think that when you switch your playing card to another, you’ll start pulling cards that match the one you switched out. Almost like the game is taunting you.”

my interpretation: This superstition runs deep. I remember the elders in my family yelling at me everything I even hinted at switching my playing card. They would often say that I would jinx myself. In hindsight, I think that the idea of having to stick with the same card could be a metaphor for monogamy. In theory, you build a relationship with this card and you start almost bonding and memorizing the playing card. If you “cheat” on the playing tab/card or toss that tab out, the cards that are pulled in the next round will almost always be matching your old playing tab. Almost as if the game reminds you of how good you could’ve had it if you stayed put.

The Sailor Children game

 “Marinero que se fue a la mari mari mar, 

para ver que podia veri veri ver 

Y lo único que pudo veri veri ver

fue el fondo de la mari mari mar”

             Me:okay, if you’re ready for your second one

HV:Okay, So this one’s a little bit it’s a children’s game and it’s called Marinero que se fue a la mar, And okay, this one might be harder for you to like get written down, but i’ll try my best to explain it. i’ll give you the context first again, I don’t know if it’s specifically from Mexico but its in Spanish, so maybe some Hispanic country is the place of origin.  It’s played by children and then my mom taught it to me actually like I was a little bit older, so maybe like end of elementary school. middle school.  I didn’t play with my friends or anything but it was something that she played with her friends, and then once she taught it to my siblings, and I we would play with each other. But it wasn’t really something that like was passed down and so it’s… what is it called like hand games, like you remember, like Patty cake type of stuff. So maybe Paddy cake would be a good  American version of it. but I will type the lyrics in basically or actually, let me do the translation. So marinero is sailor who went to the sea that’s the literal translation. The song it goes “Marinero que se fue a la mari mari mar, para ver que podía veri veri ver Y lo único que pudo veri veri ver fue el fondo de la mari mari mar” Okay I will try my best to translate this. So the first part is the sailor that went to the sea, sea, sea to see what he could see. Okay so this is what’s interesting is mar in spanish and ver both mean sea. So its like sailor that went to the sea went to see what he could see and the only thing he could see was the end of the sea. So its a play on words when its translated. I hope that was a good explanation and I can show you how its done..

(Informant shows the hand motions that are done with the game including a series of claps and sailor saluting motion)

HV: Its usually played with two people and usually played by elementary schoolers.

Me: What do you think the significance is of it? Does that make sense?

HV: Yes! I honestly think, my mom and I were talking about this, I was interviewing her and she was telling me about a different game I actually did play growing up and I was asking her because I have a younger brother, “do you think that your youngest child knows this game or will know this game” and she was like “No” because children now just play on computers and watch television and so I think to me it just kind of shows people, older generations in my gamily they played outside and they played those kind of games. I’m grateful that like we were the generation that liek we were probably the last  kids that played outside adn that was the end and that’s so sad.

Me: Yeah its all IPad kids now…

HV: Exactly yeah and I feel like thats so valuable and something lost, and im not anti tenchonoly in schools but there is something lost in the physicality in children playing together. Also its a tongue twister, it rhymes and just goes to show how play, music and contact are really important when you are a little kid.

Me: Do you think you will pass it down?

HV: I hope my siblings if they do have kids they do and I would encourage it with future generations. Its also a language thing because like my brother struggles with Spanish a lot and I just think if kids knew a little more like the games and music it would be easier to keep the language.

  1.  Marinero que se fue a la mar is played by children. The informant was taught it at the end of elementary middle school by her Hispanic mother who played it as a child.The informant described it, and perfomaned it as a  hand game. They drew similarities to the game “patty cake”. The informant discussed how it shows older generations played outside and with one another compared to the way our current generations interact and play via technology. 
  2.  Informants performed the proverb over a video zoom call. The informant was taught this game verbally by her hispanic mother. Although the informant is unsure if its specifically from Mexico it was performed to them in Spanish and then performed to me in Spanish followed by translation. 
  3. My Reflection: This is a genre of folklore games which usually serves as a practice of entertainment, this example does that specifically for children. The teller belongs to the Mexican folk group which is highlighted in the sharing of this piece as it was taught and continues to be passed down in the Spanish language. For other children that learned it as a child who are in the same folklore group I think this piece would also be a reminder of their childhood and something that reflects their family and language similar to the informant who shared this piece with me. To others outside the folklore group I think once translated and given the context of where the game was taught they would be able to relate to it and find meaning by drawing connections of this game to other popular children’s games in their own folk group culture. For example, once the informant drew a connection between what was being taught and patty cake I further understood the purpose of the game because of my familiarity with patty cake (the purpose being an interactive, entertaining and language/movement based activity for children).