Guatemalan Fair: The Games

Guatemalan Fair Game Stand

I’ve lost my marbles! Yes indeed. Guatemalan fair games are about competing against the odds, against your friends and family, against yourself. There are mechanical games like the ferris wheel and such, there electronic arcade machines, there are table foot ball machine which required no electricity, there are loterí­a or lottery rooms; sort of like bingo.

The Latin American lottery is played with cardboards of nine images, each cardboard is different, bean or maize counts, and a person calling out aloud the name of the images: La Chalupa, El Borracho, El Catrí­n, La Campana, El Cantaro, et-cetera. Whoever gets all nine images called out and accounted for with beans or maize seeds wins the lottery, if, and only if they scream with all their lungs LO-TE-RIIIIAAAAA.

At the fair, there are of course, games which required less adrenaline, like the one pictured above. You play this game with marbles, huge marbles which you throw with the spring action of your thumb and fingers in the direction of the little holes, which are marked with numbers. Depending how much you add up per set, so it’s your prize.

The Guatemalan psyche, traditions and culture fabrics are made from having experienced friends and family at the fair with its food, smells and sounds from the loud firecrackers, the sweet sounds of marimba, the hot rhythms of cumbia and salsa music, games, religious rituals such as processions, the rain, lots of rain and the smell of earth after the rain. Gosh, how I wish I had the power and the ability to seize in coherent words the experiences that make up Guatemalans. Perhaps the images do a better job. 🙁

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • I read your post today with interest and learned a lot about the lottery there and how it is played. Nice photograph too.

    Abraham Lincoln
    Brookville Daily Photo

  • Rudy,
    You’re doing an excellent job with your photos and narratives in portraying the Guatemalan way of life. I’ve learned a lot!

  • Bring on the fair! More photos of such a happy occasion would be great.

  • Claudia

    iF ONLY WE Could invent a type of scratch and sniff . . . those marbles were so much fun . . . also (I don’t know about prices anymore) Rudy, for example on an average, how many quetzales is each game?

  • Julio

    Rudy, you have made remarkable comments on the Guatemalan Culture, details and emotions you make feel a reader are a delight and relax in our every day routines. I know it is hard to describe “folk” issues but you do it extremely well. Keep going!!!