Playing cards has long been a source of entertainment for young and old alike. Card games have become so much a part of our lives that even in the age of the Internet; we still have digitized versions of those games on our computers.
The usual appearance of the cards has remained unchanged over the years. The symbols for each suit are the same as when they were introduced to England in the 15th or 16th century. The jack, queen, and king of the current pack look very similar to those of that day; their costumes are similar to those of the royal court of England in the Renaissance. Decks of cards were divided into four suits in China and this practice continued in Europe. The French divided the deck into four suits that supposedly represented the four main divisions of humanity: the nobility, represented by a spade (pique); the clergy, represented by a heart; the merchants and merchants, represented by a diamond (carreau); and the peasantry, represented by a club (clover). These four suits were adopted by the English and are known today as spades (from the Spanish sword, meaning sword), hearts, diamonds, and clubs. The highest cards of each suit, the royal, court or pictorial cards, are of obvious derivation. The intricate patterns on each picture card are said to have specific meanings, as are the type and position of the symbols on the card. After revolutions in the United States, France, and Russia, efforts were made in those countries to remove references to royalty on playing cards, but card players had so completely accepted the symbols that attempts to change them were abandoned. Other efforts to alter the traditional appearance of playing cards have met with little success. Four colors have been used instead of two for the four suits, different arrangements of the pips on the cards have been tried, and cards with a black background have been introduced. An additional suit, called Eagles in the United States and Crowns in England, was added in 1937, and a five-suited game of bridge was introduced. He messes with limited success.
Usually four sticks are kept in each culture, but they are not necessarily the same. The German costume used hearts, bells, acorns, and leaves or grass. The Swiss-German costume used roses, bells, acorns, and shields. The Spanish and Italian (north) suit had cups, coins, clubs and swords. India has badam, charkat, kilawar and ispik.