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When is National Card Playing Day?

December 28th is National Card Playing Day.

What is National Card Playing Day?

Most of us recognize the sound. The deck purrs as you shuffle it, cards gracefully sliding past one another in a synchronized dance. On National Card Playing Day, we celebrate playing cards for their versatility and the entertainment they bring us.

Over 1,000 types of card games exist, and many have been around for hundreds of years. The Chinese created an early version of playing cards in the 9th century. Most playing cards today bear the symbols that became popular in 15th century France: hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds.

Governments have been banning playing cards since the middle ages for their connections with gambling and, thus, debauchery. But most of us today simply know them as a quiet solo pastime or a wild Friday night competition, and we honor this classic means of diversion on National Card Playing Day.

Fun facts about National Card Playing Day!

  • The jacks, queens, and kings represent historical figures. For instance, the king of Diamonds stands for Caesar, and the king of Clubs represents Alexander the Great.
  • Some say the playing card suits symbolize the four pillars of the medieval economy, with Spades standing for the military, Diamonds for the merchants, Hearts for the Church, and Clubs for the agricultural class.
  • The suit symbols on playing cards are called pips.
  • During World War II, the U.S. sent playing cards to soldiers imprisoned in German camps. When they got wet, these cards peeled apart to reveal maps that led to freedom.

How to celebrate National Card Playing Day:

Pick up your trusty playing cards, and put them to work. Gather some friends for a wild game of nertz or hearts. By yourself, you could unwind with a classic round of solitaire or learn a new game. (Check out the game Napoleon at St. Helena, just in case you’re ever exiled with two decks of cards.)

What’s the hashtag for National Card Playing Day?

Use #CardPlayingDay on social media to share your playing card escapades.