Cuban “Charada”: Do you know the meaning of the 100 numbers of “La Bolita”?

cuba charade

Charade is, in Cuba, a list of 100 numbers whose first 36 meanings were taken from the Chinese charade. The remaining ones are a living body, with meanings that come from the Cuban imaginary and history.

Widespread meanings of the “la Bolita” numbers

1. Horse, sun, inkwell, Fidel Castro, camel, small fish.

2. Butterfly, man, coffee pot, snail.

3. Little boy, sailor, moon, cup, centipede, dead man.

4. Cat, Santa Barbara, candle, tooth, mouth, soldier, key, candle, military, peacock.

5. Good woman, nun, sea, letter, padlock, newspaper, fruit, worm.

6. Jicotea, reverbero, candela, bottle, moon.

7. Shit, ass, snail, dream, socks, gentleman, pig.

8. Dead, small dead, pumpkin, lion, table, tiger.

9. Elephant, burial, tongue, lyre, cube, skeleton, ox.

10. Big fish, ride, mesh, casserole, money, boat.

11. Fine rooster, rain, match, matchmaker, workshop, factory, horse.

12. Whore, star, trip, towels, refrigerator, kite, lady, big dog.

13. Pimp, big boy, peacock, Santa Lucia, stove, elephant.

14. Night cemetery, cat, tiger, marriage, lovers, arrest, frying pan.

15. Little dog, pretty girl, visitor, spoon, rooster, mouse.

16. Bull, iron, earring, holy woman, dress, small fire, funerals, wasp.

17. San Lazaro, moon, good woman, rubber, nightgown, weapons, opium smoking.

18. Little fish, church, mermaid, palm, fish, yellow cat.

19. Worm, peasant, flag, troop, big table, armor, hutia.

20. Tibor, fine cat, cannon, t-shirt, urinal, book, woman.

21. Cuban snake, money, pocket watch, vest, parrot, cigar, rooster.

22. Toad, star, lily, chimney, sun, turtle.

23. Steam, submarine, mountain, ladder, ship, eagle.

24. Pigeon, music, carpenter, kitchen, big fish. 

25. Thin stone, new house, sun, nun, frog.

26. Eel, street, new doctor, shiny, golden cloud.

27. Wasp, bell, big spoon, canary, trunk, monkey.

28.Goat, pussy, wagon, flag, politician, grapes, little dog.

29. Mouse, hutia, cloud, deer and eagle.

30. Shrimp, rainbow, dick, almanac, ox, crab, goat.

31. Deer, school, new shoe, duck.

32.Small pig, enemy, mule, demon, Cuban snake (majá).

33. Turkey vulture, deck of cards, saint, Jesus Christ, slapper, shrimp.

34. Monkey, family, black man, little black man, foreman, pigeon.

35. Spider, small spider, bride, light bulb, mosquito, butterfly.

36. Pipe, theater, grocery store, opium, colossus, birdie.

37. Witch, witch butterfly, black hen, gypsy, ant, road, fine stone.

38. Money, a lot of money, macao, car, schooner, glove, barrel.

39. Snake, rabbit, lightning, dance, dyer.

40. Cure, little blood, fireman, boy, damned, canteen, statue.

41.Lizard, lizard, lizard, prison, little duck, jubo (small Cuban snake), capuchino, clarin.

42. Duck, far country, ram, Spain, abyss, rubber band.

43. Scorpion, friend, cow, door, convict, hunchback, consumptive.

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44. Year of the Leather, “guácara with guácara”, hell, bad year, storm, storm, iron, cauldron.

45. Shark, president, suit, streetcar, school, star.

46. Omnibus, smoke, hunger, ferret, dance, Chinese.

47. Bird, fag, bad news, lots of blood, escort, rooster, rose.

48. Cockroach, fan, barbershop, bucket.

49. Drunkard, bonfire, wealth, figurine, hanger, treasure, ghost.

50. Policeman, water, joy, vase, mayor, rogue, tree.

51. Soldier, rural guard, serene, thirst, gold, eyeglasses, loops.

52. Bicycle, car, drunk, lawyer, notebook.

53. Electric light, garment, tragedy, dynamite, diamond, kiss, bailiff.

54. Flowers, white hen, dream, bell, cannon, roses.

55. Crab, bat, dance, big church, islander, fall, bullet, stamps.

56. Hen with chicks, queen, scorpion, big duck, egg meringue, stone, shirt, face.

57. Bed, angels, telegram, door.

58. Adultery, portrait, knife, crab, ironmonger, pan.

59. Madman, phonograph, lobster, ring, large spider.

60. Clown, dark sun, egg, comical, big bird, tempest, little bird.

61. Big horse, rice, cannon shot, big stone, revolver, apothecary, painter, sack.

62. Marriage, robbery, murder, crime, snow, lamp, vision, academy, wheelbarrow.

63. Murderer, bandit, brigand, horns, sword, snail, policeman, ladder.

64. Dead alive, big dead, scandal, rifle shot, maromero, revelry, beast.

65. Jail, food, witch, window, rabbit, thunder.

66. Jar, divorce, couple of mares, kiss, mask, star, moving, carnival.

67. Stabbing, hospital, clock, authority, inn, abortion, shoe.

68. Cemetery, large cemetery, balloon, large knife, quarrel, temple, bowling, money.

69. Well, beast, piano, hill, bum, powder keg.

70. Phone, coconut, shot, barrel, rainbow, bullet, shirt.

71. River, hat, medium dog, panther, rifle.

72. Ox, old ox, railroad, saw, rain, necklace, scepter, lightning.

73. Suitcase, park, razor, apples, chess, cigar.

74. Kite, colonel, military, snake, cholera, pallet.

75. Movie theater, tie, wind, guitar, flowers, kiosk.

76. Dancer, lots of smoke, iron box, violin.

77. St. Lazarus crutches, flags, war, school, bank bills, amphora.

78. Coffin, bishop, tiger, sarcophagus, king, appetite, moles.

79. Car, lizard, lawyer, freight train, travel train, candy.

80. Doctor, old doctor, good news, full moon, umbrella, beard, despair, spinning top.

81. Theater, ship, big jackknife, engineer, wit, candy, rope, actress.

82. Mother, lion, pan, quarrel, star, dock.

83. Tragedy, procession, almoner, cane, cane, wood.

84. Much blood, blind man, tailor, hut, banker, chest, reverse.

85. Clock, Madrid, eagle, mirror, guano.

86. Scissors, convent, hose, marine, squirrel, to undress, palm.

87. Banana, New York, trunk, pigeon, fire.

88.Mirrors, worm, worm, glass, leaves, customs staff.

89. Lottery, water, lots of water, old house, old female monkey, kite, melon, treasurer.

90. Old man, large mirror, candy, temporary, killer.

91. Espadrille, communist, Bolshevik, streetcar, black bird, almoner, bag.

92. Big pig, airplane, balloon, balloon very high, suicide, Cuba, anarchist, cat, big lion.

93. Revolution, ring of great value, Havana, general, long-distance runner, jewels, freedom.

94. Machete, Ogun, big butterfly, fob, perfume, flowers, Havana.

95. War, big dog, big scorpion, court of justice, sword, Matanzas.

96. Old shoe, challenge, old whore, newspaper, rogue, rock, old suitcase.

97. Mosquito, big mosquito, cricket, big monkey, mockingbird, prisoner, beggar.

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98. Piano, big burial, betrayal, royal visit, phonograph, saint.

99. Saw, rooster, big rooster, rainstorm, rain, coalman.

100. Toilet, carriage, god, broom, automobile, eggs.

cuban charada numbers
The 36 meanings of the Chinese charade used in Cuba.

What was the winning number today in the charada or bolita cubana?

Do you want to know the winning number in the Cuban bolita? Before the expansion of the Internet, Cubans on the Island, every day, would tune in to Florida radio stations on old Soviet-era radio receivers to find out the “number that came up last night” or the “number that came up at noon”.

It was practically the only way to know the outcome of the drawing of the three winning numbers. Let’s remember that the 1959 revolution banned gambling, although it could not eliminate it from popular taste.

Today, with the Internet, it is not necessary to stick your ear to an old radio receiver and try to decipher, among all the noise and static, the announcement of the result of the winning number.

In Cuba, the most widespread game usually corresponds to the Florida Lottery Pick 3, a twice-daily drawing game in which players must select three numbers.

If you want to know the most recent result, click here 👇.

History of Cuban charada

Charada arrived in Cuba in the mid-19th century, at an unspecified date between 1840 and 1870. It arrived on the island along with the tens of thousands of Chinese who arrived in Cuba hired to work as cheap labor.

At first, only the Chinese played these numbers, which, at first, were only 36. The numbers represented the different marks on a person’s body, a Chinese drawn on a printed page.

On the different parts of the body represented, small figures of animals, people, objects… were drawn. An associated number appeared next to each drawing.

The thousands of black slaves that were brought to Cuba from Africa joined the passion of the Chinese for the game that the Asians brought with them.

At the beginning of the 20th century, 64 numbers were added to the already known 36. What is known as Cuban charada was formed, which is derived from the Chinese charada of 36 elements.

History shows that Cuban charada is not a definitive list. Over time, practice and popular culture have filled each number with new meanings. There are even different numbers competing for the same meaning.

You can read an interesting article (in Spanish) about the history of charada in Cuba here.

Dreams, Nightmares, Cabulas and Cabals in Cuba

In the Cuban tradition, dreams and nightmares are related to the hundred numbers of the charada, that is, to their meanings.

This dream-charade relationship is usually called “cabala” – “cabula” in some regions of the country- and is the basis for placing bets in a game considered illegal by the Cuban government, a clandestine lottery widespread among the Cuban community inside and outside the country. This game is known as: La Bolita.

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