Card game between friends
Four decks, paired partners, high scores
Canasta prompts glee
Grandmothers taught each
Hours of love shared, special times
The card game of Canasta (Spanish for “basket”) was devised by Segundo Santos and Alberto Serrato in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1939. From there it spread to Argentina, the USA and throughout the world. It was extremely fashionable in the 1950’s, threatening for a while to displace Contract Bridge as the premiere card game.
The rules were standardized in North America around 1950. This version of the game, called Classic Canasta, gained worldwide popularity.
Canasta is generally agreed best for four players, playing in partnerships. However, there are playable and enjoyable versions for two and three players.
I spent hours learning and playing with my grandmother when I was young. A few years ago, I mentioned it to my husband, discovering he was taught by his grandmother when he was young.
We resurrected the game, refreshed our memories of the rules, and started a revitalizing campaign among our families and friends. We play both Classic Canasta with 2 decks of cards, and RaceHorse Canasta with 4 decks.
A trip “home” to Louisiana is not complete, unless several games are played with my mother, siblings and nieces. My nieces have taught their spouses. Much laughter is shared over hours and hours of playing game after game; thus the tradition continues into the next generations.
For Rules and Terminology, see Pagat
© rgb for “On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea”, 2011