The word 'tarot' is commonly believed to have originated from the Arab word 'turuq',
meaning four ways. Tarot cards consist of twenty-one trump cards, the fool and an
extra card per suit along with the usual suit of playing cards. Tarot cards are used
in many parts of Europe to play card games and for purposes of divination. The earliest
use of tarot cards can be traced back to the 14th century. The popularity of tarot
cards for fortune-telling is as old as a few centuries ago. The history of Tarot
cards describes the evolution of tarot cards from the decks of the olden days to
the different types of decks of the present times.
Tarot cards, which were an early form of today’s playing cards, entered Europe in
the 14th century. Feliciano Busi described the tarot cards as being "from Saracinia"
or Arabia. Then, they were used to play a game called tarocchi. Some theories suggest
that tarot cards were created around 1410 to 1430 in Milan, Ferrara or Bologna in
northern Italy and that some additional trump cards were later added to the suit.
These new cards were known as the triumph cards. They began to be used to play a
card game similar to bridge. The game of triumphs gained popularity in the northern
regions of Italy and eastern France. The cards underwent certain changes in pictures
and symbols depicted on them. Tarot cards soon became popular in Sicily, Austria
and Germany. This type of tarot cards exists in the form of fifteen fragmented decks
painted in the 15th century for the rulers of Milan.
After hundreds of years from then, people who believed in occult started regarding
tarot cards as means of divination. The French and the English people were fascinated
by the mystical symbolism of the tarot cards. This led to the tarot cards being used
as divination tools.
Tarot cards find applications in card games and are popularly believed to serve as
means of understanding one's fortune. The pictures and symbols that are featured
on the tarot cards are associated with certain happenings in one's future. There
is a wide variety in the tarot deck designs. The emergence of tarot cards as a way
of divination was an outcome of man's curiosity to discover the hidden future. The
history of Tarot cards stands testimony to the human tendency to know things ahead
of time. Their popularity further iterates the fact that we are always in search
of ways to unfold mysteries.