National Card Playing Day Date in the current year: December 28, 2024

National Card Playing Day Grab a deck of cards and invite your friends over for a game night on December 28 to celebrate National Card Playing Day. This unofficial holiday is dedicated to one of the most popular pastimes that has been around since at least the 9th century.

A card game is just what it says on the tin: any game that involves a deck of playing cards. There are countless card games: some can be played by just two people while others require three or more players, some are played with a traditional deck while others require game-specific cards, some can involve wagers for money while others are played purely for the fun of it.

The oldest known reference to a card game dates back to 9th-century China. The history of playing cards in Europe began in the late 13th century; they were probably brought by the Moorish conquerors during their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Back then, a card deck already had four suits and included low cards, numbered from 1 to 10, and high cards.

Early European card decks invented in the early 15th century consisted of the so-called Latin suits: swords, clubs, cups, and coins. These suits are still common in Spain, Portugal and their former colonies, as well as in parts of Italy. In the rest of the world, they have been mostly replaced by the French suits, which were invented half a century later: spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs.

The first gambling card game was also invented in France in the early 18th century. Named Bête, it was the first card game to introduce the concept of bidding. The game spread to Germany and England, spurring the emergence of other card games that involved stakes. As card games became associated with gambling, Pope Benedict XIV banned them in 1750.

Since those early times, dozens of different card games have evolved. They can be divided into several broad categories: trick-taking games (bridge, whist, spades), adding games (cribbage), collecting games (ninety-nine), comparing games (poker, blackjack), draw and discard games (rummy, canasta), fishing games (cassino), shedding games (canasta), patience/solitaire games, and others.

As we’ve already mentioned above, some card games use a specifically designed card deck, which is usually proprietary. Popular examples of dedicated-deck card games include Uno, Phase 10, Set, Cards Against Humanity, and 1000 Blank White Cards. 1000 Blank White Cards is unique among other dedicated-deck card games because the initial deck indeed consists of blank cards; players are expected to design their own deck as part of the game.

The origins of National Card Playing Day, sometimes referred to as simply Card Playing Day, are unclear, but don’t let it stop you from celebrating! You can observe the holiday by playing your favorite card games with your family and friends, learning a new card game or inventing one, or organizing a friendly card tournament.

If you have no one to play with, you can play cards online against other users from all over the world or play a game of solitaire. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media using the hashtags #NationalCardPlayingDay and #CardPlayingDay to encourage others to celebrate.

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Unofficial Holidays



National Card Playing Day, Card Playing Day, holidays in the United States, unofficial holidays, card games