Why Gambling on New Year’s Eve Is Becoming a Greek Tradition
Greece is known all over the world for a variety of things but one of the little known facts about the country is that the people play cards on New Year's Eve almost always. According to Ancient Greek mythology traditions, the New Year won't go well for someone who doesn't play cards on New Year's Eve. Basically, if one plays the game and loses, they think the result is that the New Year will be full of poor luck. In the flipside, when one plays cars and scores, reigns jubilation, at least for a large portion of the New Year.
Some Greek people take this Greek practice so seriously that it will also encourage their young children to play cards with them, or normally, on their own. Luckily, there are a few easy poker games specially made for kids and that goes a long way to ensuring things don't get out of hand.
According to Gerasimos Rigatos, a folklorist, the term "trapoula" used by Greeks for a deck of cards is in reality a variant of "trappola" an Italian word that loosely translates into scam, trap or deception. Many Greek houses, wealthy as well as poor, have such card decks. New Year's Eve is a celebration time and the people of Greece want to welcome a game of cards, candy, wine and so on into the New Year.
As mentioned earlier, the game of cards champion will have a year of good fortune but it's not as grim as it may sound to the game's loser – obviously, even the losers have some reasons for hope. This is discussed explicitly by a popular Greek saying: "the one who loses in card games, wins in love." Bearing this in mind, everybody leaves the gaming table satisfied until the game ends in New Year's day early hours.
In turn, the game was a chance for families and friends to get together and enjoy each other's company. The sums wagered during the games are in reality so small and are considered symbolic and barely count as actual gambling.
A History of State Domination
Since the beginning of 1884, the country's printing of playing cards has become the state's monopoly and therefore only the government has been permitted to import and distribute playing cards – well, until several decades ago. Card decks were generally heavily regulated, and the fee was used to pay for debts after the government's recession at the end of the XIX century.