The Spanish Language Blog

Games are a form of leisure activity adapted and changed by the passage of time. They are passed on from the older generation to the younger generation, who then pass it on to the next generation, and so on. Just as we all used to play hopscotch, marbles and tag, in Spain there are also various Spanish games that were traditionally played and are still performed daily by young and old to this day. Indeed, Spain is a country with a rich history full of traditions and stories from which many games have emerged. Indeed, games used to go from village to village, with everyone inventing their own version of the game.

  • A typical Spanish game and probably one of the most popular card games is the card game "el Mus.
  • Popular games widely played in Spain are known all over the world.

Spain even has its own card deck (juego de naipes or cartas de jugar) better known as Spanish card deck. It originates from the fourteenth century. This baraja española (Spanish card deck) normally consists of 48 cards with various historical figures and symbols on them. Of these card games, the most famous game is probably "el Mus. Originally from the Basque country, this card game is one of the most popular card games in Spain. Besides Spain, this game is also played largely in Latin America and a small part of France. It has a history of up to more than 200 years and there are several theories about the meaning and origin of the name.

The name "Mus" may have originated from the Basque language, where musu means kiss. Another theory is that the word comes from the Latin musso and means silent silence. This is the opposite of talk and was used to start the game. Normally played with four players in two pairs with the Spanish deck, the game consists of 40 cards. The deck then does not include eights, nines, tens and jokers. However, the rules of the game can vary greatly from each other as occurs in any card game. The game has four rounds: grande (big), chica (small), pares (pair), juego (game) and the goal of the game is to reach 40 points. It is a verbal game in which the players of the same team always sit opposite each other and can communicate with each other using signals.

Besides the card game, there are many different games for children. The most famous games that have been played since ancient times and are still popular today are: 'oca' (Goose board), 'escondite' (hide and seek), 'gomas' (rubber bands), 'peonza' (spinning top) and 'rayuela' (hopscotch). 'Oca' is a fun board game with numbered squares in a spiral shape. Stories circulate that the first version of this Spanish game was a gift from Francesco I de Medici (Grand Duke of Tuscany) to Philip II of Spain sometime between 1547 and 1587. The game "Gomas" is also a traditional game of Bolivian origin, in which a long elastic band is stretched by two players. A third player must do jumps and tricks in the middle of the elastic band. If a mistake is made, the player must go and another may continue.

Other traditional games in Spain (and also in other countries) are "damas" (checkers), "dominó" (dominoes) and "parchís" (don't make trouble). These games are especially popular among older people, as they can be played while sitting quietly. They are real thinking games and real party games that can keep people occupied for a long time.

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