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Fairfax County, Virginia

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Ashley Atkinson,
Editor, Branch Out

December is Bingo’s Birthday!


Bingo birthday

By Renee Edwards, Program and Educational Services Director

While Bingo is the name-o of the dog owned by a farmer, it is also the name of a beloved game enjoyed by all ages.

In the game, people get cards with numbers in five columns under each letter in the word “bingo.” The game leader, known as a caller, calls out randomly selected letter-number combinations that may appear on players’ cards such as “I-20” or “O-65.” If the number is on a player’s card, they mark it off with a token or ink dot. The first person to get five numbers in a row shouts “bingo” and wins the game.

According to the National Day Calendar, bingo began in Italy in 1530 and was called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia” which roughly translates to the lotto game of Italy. It migrated to North America in 1929 where salesman Edwin Lowe modified the game. First called “beano,” the name quickly changed when Lowe heard someone mistakenly shout, “bingo!”

Although the exact date of bingo’s creation isn’t known, each year we celebrate the "birth” of the widely loved and played game during the month of December. Join in the celebration yourself by using our game card to play! Get five in a row two different ways and shout “bingo” by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with a picture of your completed card.

Want to play a real game of bingo and win prizes? Register for our game on Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. at our Dolley Madison branch or on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at our Pohick Regional branch here:

Fairfax Virtual Assistant