Christmas games typical of the Neapolitan tradition
Naples feels Christmas in all its aspects so that even after dinner it cannot be omitted. Usually the post-Christmas dinner is a time to be together, to exchange gifts and to tell each other about Christams lunch, but in Naples, all this is peppered with a popular tradition that involves adults and children: group games.
Naples has many Christmas games that range from the oldest such as bingo to the merchant at the fair to more modern and digital games.
The game of bingo: the Neapolitan version of bingo
Neapolitan card games: 7 and a half
Seven and a half is one of the most popular card games during Christmas. All you need is a bunch of Neapolitan cards and you're done. The aim is to collect the cards as close as possible to the value of 7½ without passing it, a bit like with black-jack.
The game consists of some odds or bets you make before asking the dealer to turn over the cards, which have different values. All cards have a nominal value except for eight, nine and ten, which are worth half a point.
Board games: the merchant at the fair
Along with the aforementioned games, the merchant at the fair is one of the most historical and played games during Christmas.
The origins date back to the first half of the eighteenth century and the game, very similar to bingo, consists in extracting prizes that this time do not concern numbers but cards. The merchant at the fair is composed of two bundles of identical cards, one of which is distributed among the participants while the other is used for extraction. The characters of the cards have always been the same for about two hundred years, so much so that they represent now obsolete crafts, particular animals or exceptional types of architecture.
An ancient Neapolitan card game: saltacavallo
Poker in Neapolitan Christmas: a modern tradition
One of the contaminations that Neapolitan Christmas has received is poker. The most common are the American and Italian versions
A game that, however complex, still manages to attract the attention of all the participants to the festivities with its colours, the chips and the use of technical terms directly in English that bring a bit of Christmas across the Channel even here with us.
Games to play during the Christmas holidays
Christmas games are exterminated and often vary within family traditions in rules and methods. Many other games are played during the Christmas season and if you come to Naples you can't help but try them all!