NE campus celebrated Mexican culture by gathering students to play a beloved game of chance.
Loteria, a game not unlike bingo, has been a staple in Spanish history for generations. In wake of National Hispanic History Month, TCC has organized various events to celebrate and appreciate the culture.
Among the wide range of events, NE student activities held Trailblazer Loteria, in which students could go to the NSTU building on Oct. 12 between 12 PM and 2 PM to play Loteria. Those who attended played a handful of rounds and had a modest selection of Mexican foods available to choose from.
Ana Contreras, NE student activities coordinator and event host, said the key inspiration behind this event came from the love of playing the game.
“I always love to share Loteria,” she said. “Being Mexican, that was such a big part of my life growing up, so I like to try and share that with students. I try to have the event every year as a fun way to learn a new cultural tradition for a lot of people for Hispanic Heritage Month.”
Contreras felt the game would be a good way to bring joy to others, as well as bring them together.
“For me, I think it brings families together,” she said. “I mean, a lot of folks will tell you that they play this during family gatherings. During Christmas and the holiday season is when my family and I play a lot. When we’re together and we’re celebrating we usually have a game of Loteria lying around. So, for me, it brings the family together and is about sharing fun with each other.”
Some students who attended the event shared a similar opinion regarding the game as Contreras. Throughout the event, many students were on the edge of their seats, awaiting the completion of their game boards. NE student Megan Garcia was one of those students.
“Sometimes I get a little bit too into it because really – I just want to win,” she joked.
However, one criticism she had of the event was how it deviated from traditional Loteria in some minor ways.
“My only thing is that I wish they brought the frijoles, since that’s usually how it’s played traditionally,” she said.
South student Heriberto Perez felt the representation at the event was handled well and thought it was beneficial for students who attended.
“It brings some of the culture here and sharing culture is what it’s all about,” he said. “I think it’s something people should experience. I think it’s fun.”
Perez said some of his favorite aspects of Loteria were its unique personality and potential educational value that could come from playing it.
“In a way you’re kind of learning a little bit of the language and what this means or that means. People who play do get to learn Spanish words and what they mean in English, and they basically learn what to do and how to write these things that are in Spanish.”
Contreras hoped students would walk away from the event with a newfound perspective and appreciation of Loteria and Mexican culture overall.
“Learning what it is that makes us different but also what connections and what similarities are there,” she said. “I think that brings a sense of empathy and understanding, and I think to learn that is super important.”