Portuguese Festival Paper Game
June 17, 2009 7:52 PM   Subscribe

When I was young, I went to a Portuguese festival in New Jersey (USA), and played a curious game. In a fishbowl would be hundreds of pieces of tissue paper, rolled very thinly and bent. You would pay for 10 pieces, and then unroll them. If your piece had a mark, you would win a prize. I'm searching for what that game is called, does anyone know?

I haven't had much luck searching through traditional Portuguese games, or even general carnival games. I'd like to run something similar, and was hoping to know the cultural name and background of the game (assuming that it is a Portuguese cultural game, it very well may not be). Does anyone remember this? Possibly, even from their own youth?
posted by kensch to Society & Culture (5 answers total)
Whoa! I can't help but I vaguely remember something like that at a Portuguese festival 35 years ago in Strathroy, Ontario.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:58 PM on June 17, 2009

It sounds like a version of Punchboard, only they just tossed the paper scrolls into a bowl rather than setting them into a punchboard to pull out with a stylus. It's not really a Portuguese game so much as a carnival game, found at fairs since at least the 19th century.
posted by Miko at 8:07 PM on June 17, 2009

In England it would be called a tombola, a name odd enough that I looked it up in my big dic, which says that it's named after the rotating barrel from which you draw tickets and comes from Italian tombolare, to somersault. I suppose that "tumble" comes from the same root.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:25 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I know about this from the Neopets Tombola.
posted by HopperFan at 10:17 PM on June 17, 2009

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