Know Your Mah Jong History Before Hitting the Casino

Know Your Mah Jong History Before Hitting the Casino

Historians study many things in many contexts and one of things they love to study is the history of gaming. Games and gambling in particular has always said a lot about culture and for that reason many cultural historians look at different games and then use those games to ask bigger questions about society. This is good for our purposes, since it means that there is a wealth of information available regarding the history of Mah Jong. It is best divided into three areas representing the origins of the game, its transference to the west and finally its modern historical significance.

Origins in China

There are many people in China that will tell you that the game of Mah Jong was invented by Confucius. Confucius was a great philosopher of the Chinese people and quite possibly one of the greatest philosophers of all time. While the tale itself is very likely untrue, it is interesting to note that a lot of the circumstantial evidence surrounding the claim has not been refuted. If true, the game would have been invented in 500 BC and the reason that it is most likely false is that historians have found no record of the game until more than 2000 years later. It remains a very popular story about the origins of Mah Jong to this very day.

The actual origin of Mah Jong as recorded by history is the 19th Century. There are different historians that will place the dates at 1850, 1870, 1875 and 1860 depending on different events taking place at the time and while no one specific date is more popular than the others in the historical era, it is definitely the historical consensus that the middle of the 19th century is the most likely time for the game to have been invented.

Travel to the West

The west had known about Mah Jong as early as 1895 when it was mentioned in a scientific paper. However, the game itself did not make the jump to the United States until the early 20th century and was an immediate hit when it arrived. There were many different versions of the game marketed to the American population and strategy rulebooks followed in the wake of the games. Many spin-offs of the game including American Mah Jong were also developed during the first period and for the most part Mah Jong has remained popular in the western world ever since. It is mostly played in the western world by retired persons and immigrants to the west, but it is still one of the most popular games around.

Modern Times

Mah Jong continues to remain a popular international game, especially since its reintegration into the Chinese culture. It was removed and made illegal by the Communist Party in the 1940s, but just twenty years later it was brought back by popular demand during the Cultural Revolution. From here on in, Mah Jong looks like it will remain one of the more popular games of the world for a long time to come.

December 16, 2010 by : posted in Land Based Casino News No Comments