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NEAPOLITAN CHRISTMAS GAME

Published December 16, 2013 by Tony

THE TOMBOLA

Let’s put aside Baseball or Playstation and take the opportunity that relatives and friends are at home to play all together with a board game.

The board  games are a phenomenon quite common in Western countries as a moment of aggregation, although their importance in social life also depends on national traditions. In Germany and the German-speaking countries, for example, the culture of the table game is much more widespread than in Italy. This kind of games is important as entertainment for family, especially for those suitable for all ages.
Christmas, being a celebration that usually unites the whole family, also becomes an opportunity to play together, a way to spend a happy afternoon or evening with a board game.

And in Naples, the oldest and widespread game played during the holiday season is the ” TOMBOLA“.
It is a traditional board game just created in Naples in the eighteenth century. A home game as an alternative to the game of the LOTTO (lot), and often accompanied by a system of association between numbers and their meanings, usually humorous, deriving from “The SMORFIA“.
The Smorfia is like the dream book, used to obtain the corresponding numbers from the various dreams to play the “Lotto”, along the lines of the Jewish Kabbalistic tradition (Kabbalah). For the Smorfia, a word, an event, a person, or an object, is transformed into one or more numbers, even through a fairly accurate coding that provides a different number depending on the context. For example, the verb (action) “to play” is represented by the number 79, but it changes if you meant to play football (50), cards (17), chess (22), and so on. For The Smorfia, the number 1 represents “Italy”, while the last number, 90, represents the “fear”, as well as the number five the “hands” and 18 the “blood”.

smorfia

For the uninitiated, the Lotto is a gambling game (like lottery), the most popular game in Italy managed by the State. The word “lotto” is derived from the French ” lot ,” which means both ” portion” and “fate.” The term, arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, is documented as “lote” in Spanish and “loto” in Portuguese. The French verb “lotir ” also means “to divide the lot” or “assign the lot”. But similar term can be found in the old English “hlot” (“a thing allotted”), which correspond to “Los” in modern German.

The game consists of three weekly draws, conducted in eleven cities called “ruote” (wheels), in which are drawn 5 numbers between 1 and 90 without replacement, meaning that a number once selected is not put back in the urn. The game is to bet on one or more numbers (double, triplet, quadruplet, quintet), in the hope that they are selected in the “wheels” you had gambled. In fact, you can bet in a single wheel, multi-wheel or all-wheel.
Neapolitans are very superstitious and often bet the numbers (arising from Smorfia) corresponding to particular events or situations, or resulting from some dream. Even the numbers that are part of a just bought car’s license plate, are among those that a Neapolitan can play to The Lotto.

Lotto: extracted numbers

According to tradition, the Tombola game would be created in 1734 by a discussion between King Charles of Bourbon and father Gregorio Maria Rocco about the lottery. The first wanted it under public control, as the second considered it immoral on religious grounds. The compromise was found by banning the game during the holiday season, during which families organized themselves with a home version of the game, which soon became a custom in those days of the year.

Basically the game of Bingo is similar to Tombola, in which participants are required to pay a sum of money which is then redistributed as prizes to the winners.
The players have one or more rectangular “cards” previously “bought”, consisting of 3 lines, each with five numbers, from 1 to 90, printed on. Each time one number is drawn and it is present on one or more of the player’s cards, the player gotta cover it. In the traditional version of Tombola, the cards are simple paper cards and the numbers are can be covered with beans, chickpeas, lentils, pasta, or other materials available after the Christmas dinners, like hazelnuts’ shells. The Tombola’s cards are made in groups of six, so that in each group the numbers from 1 to 90 are present once only. A collecting box is part of the game, typically a small cone-shaped basket, filled with 90 numbers of wood. In turn, each player draws, at random, one number a time from the container, and go on until one of the players has covered all the numbers marked on one of his card. In such cases it is said that he made “Tombola”, and is the winner. Once put back in place the numbers and emptied the cards, the game resumes and another player can extract the numbers from the bowl. Depending on the amount of the prize money, players can decide to put at stake the double, the triplet, the quadruplet and the quintet, although it is the one who gets tombola to earn the top prize.

Tombola

Since Neapolitan tombola is normally played in a familiar context (as mentioned it is the traditional Christmas game), the amounts committed and won are usually small, and often have a purely symbolic value (you can “buy” three folders for 1 euro, for example). I like to buy 6 cards and to tell the truth, I’m not very lucky in this game, and although I only pay 2 Euros per session, after a couple of hours I could lose 15-20 euro! But as we say, more to comfort than anything else, “unlucky in the game, lucky in love”?
As mentioned, it is mainly a way to get together and have fun, which children may also take part, who know the numbers, at least from 1 to 90!

tombola

MUD BATH

Published May 5, 2012 by Tony

GET DIRTY

Mud bath

A mud bath is a bath of mud (balneotherapy), commonly made in areas where there is (hot) spring water often combined with volcanic ash. Mud baths have existed for thousands of years, and can be found now in high-end spas in many countries of the world. Mud baths have been used since ancient times for therapeutic benefits, to treat health problems and to beautify the skin. It’s told that even Cleopatra enjoyed mud baths. Historically, the mud bath treatment has been used for centuries in Eastern and Western European spas as a way to relieve arthritis.There are two basic ways of taking a mud bath. The first is to take a deep body bath in warm diluted mud and the second is to apply a thick coat of mud to the body and leave it on until it dries. Both types are typically used in spas. In addition to their many other benefits, mud baths usually produce a feeling of deep relaxation that helps to reduce stress. And …. without mentioning the good satisfaction and the great feeling to mucking up own body by a sticky/pitchy stuff, setting free and stay dirty, as only kids know.
Mud baths come from many source and each type of mud has its own distinct benefits: lakes, saltwater sea (e.g. Dead Sea in Jordan and Israel), hot springs (e.g. Calistoga, Napa Valley, California), mud volcano (e.g. Pulau Tiga, Malaysia, spa around Vesuvius, Italy).
The mud is linked to some weird or unusual sports and events like:

Mud bowl championship in North Conway;

Mud Bowl   Mud Bowl

Mud Pit Belly Flop Contest, where people must  jump into a mud pond during the annual Summer Redneck Games in East Dublin.

Mud Pit Belly Flop
The Mud football contest runs in many countries (Australia, China, Scotland, England, Finland).

Mud Football
Maldon Mud Race in Essex,  originated in 1973, involves competitors racing around a course on the mudbanks of the river Blackwater at low tide. Another similar is the mud run hosted by the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation in North America.

Mud Maldon   Mud Maldon
Bloco de Lama in Brazil,  an unique party and cultural experience during Carnival Time, in Parati, Rio de Janeiro. Here people clad in swimwear and rags, slathered in mud, adorned with branches and bones and crying “ooga ooga ha ha”.

mud Bloco de Lama

Bloco da Lama carnival parade in Paraty near Rio de Janeiro

Mud -bloco_da_lama_
The Boryeong Mud Festival, an annual festival which takes place during the summer in Boryeong, in South Korea.

Mud festival
The Mud Day for kids in Detroit,  where hundreds of kids of all ages  got down and dirty in a giant puddle to celebrate the annual Mud Day event.  Kids will have a chance to get plenty dirty and everyone encourages it!

mud day detroit

mud day, detroit
Beside, the Mud Day in Michigan,  an annual ritual to wallow, slather and generally gad about in glorious mud. A lot of people (most kids) turn up the for the state annual mud day, where mud is king.

Annual Mud Day Michigan

Mud day in Westland

mud day michigan

OTHERS MUD BATH IMAGES:

Mud bath in PAKISTAN