Quick! What’s the first thing you think of when you hear these words:

  • Tickets – The majority of people probably think of tickets to an event of some kind, although those with a need for speed might see images of traffic tickets
  • Charities – Most people probably think of an organization close to their hearts, perhaps the March of Dimes or Salvation Army
  • Raffles – This sounds simple, right? Everyone must think of an event used to raise money for a charity, right?

Not so fast! Believe it or not, the word “raffles” isn’t as easily defined as most people think. Why? Well, that has to do with an historic hotel in Singapore…

The Raffles Hotel was opened on December 1st, 1887 and was named after Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. The resort contains a tropical garden court yard, museum, and a Victorian style theater, as well as high end restaurants. It was declared a national monument in 1987, and was fully renovated in 1989 to its 1915 appearance.

Raffles is currently operated by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and counts among its former guests such luminaries as Charlie Chaplain, Michael Jackson, and Queen Elizabeth II!

Sir Stamford Raffles led an interesting life, and his name has been kept alive in a number of ways, from high schools and colleges, to country clubs and horse races. There’s even a genus of parasitic flowering plants named after him!

Oddly enough, while Sir Stamford Raffles traveled all over Europe and Asia until his death in 1826, there appears to be no connection between him and the game of chance that most people associate with the word “raffles.”</p>

It does bring up at least one humorous question, though: when the Raffles Hotel holds a raffle, what do they call it? One can only hope it’s the “Raffles Raffle.”