Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades: What’s with these symbols?
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Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades: What’s with these symbols?

Love playing cards? We may know a lot about them, but not everything.

Hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades — Have you ever ask about what are all these symbols all about? Well, before I tell you all about it, let me give you some mind-blowing observations about your favorite playing cards. Check your classic calendar!

  • Two colors: The colors of red and black correspond to the two parts of each day, day and night.
  • Four suits: The four suits correlates to the four seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall.
  • Twelve courts: The 12 court cards correspond to the 12 months in a year.
  • Thirteen values: The thirteen cards in each suit correspond to the 13 weeks every quarter. It also correlates to the 13 lunar cycles.
  • Fifty-two cards: The 52 cards (in a deck) correspond to the 52 weeks in a year.

In the past hundreds of years, different countries have adapted card decks to reflect customs and cultures. The modern decks currently display the 2 colors for the suits of spades and clubs (black), and hearts and diamonds (red). But all these suits and colors had a long history of evolution before it became what they are today.

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The Origin

There is no definite evidence on when and where the playing cards originated. However, some scholars say that the first playing cards were invented in China around the 9th century AD during the Tang Dynasty and in Europe during the late 1300s and early 1400s.

Some scholars believe that the first to use suited cards were the Chinese. And these suited cards represented money. These suits were myriads of strings, tens of myriads, coins, and strings of coins.

 It is also believed that the four suits of the Modern English deck derived from French cards, which were developed from German suits. And the German suits adapted theirs from Latin suits.

Latin Suits

Latin suits represent cups, clubs, coins, and swords. In Italian, word sword is ‘spade’ and in Spanish, Espadas. It is believed that the ranking of suits was adapted from Chinese tradition, which associated with value.

Germanic Suits

Around the 1450s, the Swiss-Germans play card suits represent bells, acorns, shields, and roses. However, the Germans eventually changed these to bells, acorns, leaves, and hearts. However, they all still look similar.

In the German tradition, these symbols represented social ranking:

*Bells were the nobility

*Leaves were the merchant middle class.

French Suits

These suits were a variation of Germanic suits. They keep the hearts, but they made some changes with the three suits that instead of

* the bells, they used carreaux, which are tiles or diamonds.

*the acorns became trèfles, which are clovers or clubs

*the leaves, they had piques for pikes or spades.

In a legend, these French suits represent 4 classes in the society:

-Spades represent nobility

-Hearts stand for the clergy

-Diamonds represent the vassals or merchants

-Clubs are peasants

Around 1480, French cards were sent to England. In 1628, the importing of playing cards was banned, so they had to produce their own. In the 19th century, Charles Goodall and Sons reworked the French Rouen designs of the face cards, and that is the playing cards design seen today.

Take a look at the playing cards here online at Judi online and enjoy playing the modern deck we use today!

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