National Mahjong Day 2023: National Mahjong Day is annually observed on April 30. Mahjong is a tile-based game that has existed since the 19th century in China, and it remains popular throughout the globe, particularly in Asian nations. In China, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia, there are three-player variations of the game. The game is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese symbols and characters. Each player begins with 13 tiles, and the objective is to draw and discard tiles until a legal hand is formed using the 14th tile to create four sets and a pair (referred to as “melds” and “eye,” respectively).
HISTORY OF NATIONAL MAHJONG DAY
Mahjong is derived from card games that were prevalent in China during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Khanhoo and Pèngh, which are likely its ancestors. Comparable to the western card games Conquian and Rummy, they entail drawing and discarding cards to form melds. Nobody knows for certain when the transition from playing cards to tiles occurred, but it likely occurred in the middle of the 19th century. The earliest surviving tile sets were discovered in Fuzhou, Shangai, and Ningbo and date to roughly 1870. These sets differed from modern ones in several ways: some tiles were missing, others were arranged differently, and others bore the titles of Taiping Rebellion commanders. (It is believed that they were removed following the end of the rebellion.)
The People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949. One of their new laws prohibited wagering, leading to a decline in the game. During the Cultural Revolution of 1966, the pastime became entirely prohibited. The prohibition was removed in 1985. In modern times, the game has become a popular recreation in China.
In the West, the earliest records of Mahjong are found in the documents of British Consul General F. E. B. Harvey from the 1860s, when he was consul in Ningbo. He became acquainted with an English-speaking official serving the Daoguang Emperor, who instructed him in the game. He then detailed the game’s regulations in a series of documents.
Mahjong sets were first imported to the United States in 1920, and the game became popular for the remainder of the decade. In Chinatown, Manhattan, in the 1920s and ’30s, it became a central part of cultural bonding for Chinese Americans, and in the 1940s, it was a part of community building for suburban American Jewish women. During American Mahjong nights, rooms are frequently decorated in Chinese design. 1937 saw the establishment of the National Mah Jongg League, which standardised the American variant’s rules. The N.M.J.L. held its first Mah Jongg Cruise Tournament in 1986. 1999 saw the formation of a second organisation, the American Mah Jongg Association, which presently hosts tournaments throughout North America.
NATIONAL MAHJONG DAY ACTIVITIES
Master the game of Mahjong
Even if you’ve never played before, you can participate in the celebration by simply giving it a shot. Destination Mah Jongg is an online community that connects you with local players, and on National Mahjong Day, they hold a Learn to Play Mahjong Clinic. You can also learn independently for free by watching videos on YouTube and by playing Mahjong on your browser or smartphone.
Attend an event
Find out where in your area is hosting a National Mahjong Day event, and join them. It doesn’t have to be a tournament; they likely have tables for casual play, which is a great way to meet new people with similar interests.
Teach others to play Mahjong
Not only can you participate, but you can also teach your friends and family. Share this fantastic game with more individuals. Additionally, you can offer to instruct novices at an event. Simply contact the hosting organisation if they need additional instructors!
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5 LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT MAHJONG
There are 25 identified variants
American Mahjong, Competition Mahjong, and Pussers bones are a few examples.
The first tiles were made of bone.
Currently, they are predominantly composed of plastic.
The first world championship was held in Japan.
The 2002 World Mahjong Championship was contested over three days in Iidabashi, Tokyo, and was won by the Japanese player Mai Hatsune.
The duration of the longest mahjong marathon was 33 hours.
Russia’s Oleg Petrov, Anton Khantimirov, Nickolay Demyanov, and Mark Efremov played for 33 hours, three minutes, and 45.8 seconds on December 16, 2012.
Some consider Confucius the inventor of the game
The three dragon tiles, according to historians, symbolise the philosopher’s teachings on the three essential virtues: sincerity, filial piety, and humanity.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL MAHJONG DAY
The game promotes numerous abilities.
These include tactics, observation, memory, pattern recognition, and adaptive strategies. These skills can be extremely useful in day-to-day life, and they can be enhanced by playing and growing better at it.
It’s an opportunity to play Mahjong with others.
Let’s be honest: at first glance, the modules appear much more complicated than they actually are. However, a competent educator can overcome this obstacle. Teaching your friends and family how to play is a great way to bond, and if they improve, you may gain new rivals!
Mahjong serves as a bridge to Chinese culture.
Learning about other cultures and expanding one’s horizons is always a positive occurrence. You need not even research the history of Mahjong. You are exposed to so much of China’s culture simply by gazing at the tiles, such as Chinese language characters, flowers, landscapes, symbols, etc.
NATIONAL MAHJONG DAY DATES