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All that’s needed to celebrate this day is a deck of cards (or a computer or smartphone) and a little bit of time to waste! National Solitaire Day is here to show appreciation for this card game that allows individuals, loners and introverts alike to play a game of cards without even needing a partner. 

History of National Solitaire Day

Solitaire is a card game played by an individual that can be traced back to somewhere around the 17th century. Some folks assert that the game got its start as a way for an individual to tell their own fortune, using something like tarot cards. This type of game may have originated in the Baltic countries, moved on to Sweden and then eventually throughout the rest of Europe.

Another story claims that the game of solitaire was invented by a French aristocrat who was imprisoned in the Bastille. Still others say that the game was invented by a French mathematician to entertain King Louis XIV. What is known for sure is that a piece of French engraving artwork from 1697 depicts a famous princess playing a game of solitaire.

The first reference to the term “solitaire” in the Oxford English Dictionary was recorded in 1801. By 1826, the first book about the game was published in Russia, featuring a collection of solitaire games. By 1864, when the work Great Expectations was published by Englishman Charles Dickens, one of the characters is playing a game of solitaire which was, at the time, known as Patience.

While several versions of solitaire can be played with cards, the traditional version, Klondike, uses all 52 cards in a traditional deck. The game is played from seven piles and has four foundation rows where cards must be stacked in order, from Ace to King.

Although the game of solitaire has a history that goes back for centuries, National Solitaire Day is more recent. In fact, the day was first celebrated in 2018 when it was established by the Microsoft company. National Solitaire Day was established in honor of their original computer solitaire game, also known as Klondike, that was released in 1990 with Windows 3.0. This was back in the days when people would play with an actual mouse that had a roller ball!

It would be difficult to estimate the number of hours that have been spent by millions of people all over the world playing computer games. But one of the simplest and most basic games that came standard on most PC computers throughout the 1990s and even into the new millennium is an undisputed classic.

In 2020, National Solitaire Day gained quite a bit of traction when it set its own record for the most number of solitaire games played in one day. In other years, Microsoft has acted as a sponsor for the day by offering special bonuses and double XPs when the game is played on Windows or iOS mobile devices.

National Solitaire Day offers a bit of nostalgia to celebrate this unique and interesting card game – for the competition, for the thrill, and really just for the fun of it!

How to Celebrate National Solitaire Day

Spend a little time on your own or with others and enjoy the fun by celebrating National Solitaire Day! Get started with some of these ideas for enjoying the day:

Play Some Solitaire

Open up a game of classic Klondike solitaire on the computer and play for a little while. Even better, go retro and pull out an actual deck of cards. Whichever option is chosen (or both) National Soliatire Day is best celebrated by playing a round or two of this simple and addictive card game. Although, as many people have discovered, it might be difficult to stop with just a couple of rounds!

Host a National Solitaire Day Party

Sure, solitaire is typically a game that is enjoyed alone. But it doesn’t have to be. Solitaire can also be the center of a social event that includes food, music and obviously, the game of solitaire.

Get creative by inviting guests to dress up in costumes that represent their favorite playing card (Queen of Hearts, anyone?). Build a menu of food items and snacks around the theme of solitaire, such as cupcakes or cookies decorated with hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. And it might also be fun to decorate the party room with oversized playing cards.

Hold a Solitaire Tournament

Make a fun event out of National Solitaire Day by holding a solitaire tournament during the lunch hour at work, or all throughout the day during breaks. Get creative with the competition by timing games, creating a bracket and enjoying the fun of competition. Those working in the IT industry or tech world might be especially invested in this day, as it is a nod to the creation of the original Solitaire game put out by Microsoft.

Watch a Movie that Features Solitaire

It’s no surprise that many filmmakers have included background games of solitaire in their story lines. Check out some of these movies in honor of National Solitaire Day and see if it’s possible to spot the solitaire game (traditional or computer version) being played in the film.

Take a look at some of these:

  • Jaws (1975). This incredibly famous Steven Spielberg film features a scene where an oceanographer, played by Richard Dreyfuss, is chilling out by playing solitaire on a boat.
  • Ocean’s Thirteen (2007). When Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney) and his gang of criminals team up for another heist, the computer version of solitaire is played in one hotel scene.
  • The Lego Movie (2014). This movie takes the game of computer Solitaire to a whole new level when it is played by inanimate action figures in one of the scenes.
  • The Manchurian Candidate (1962). A classic game for a classic film, the original card version of the game is used in this story as part of a trigger phrase for a sleeper agent who is a spy in the Korean War. Very tricky!

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