Madrid – Every year there is a lottery craze on December 22nd in Spain.
On a Wednesday morning – traditionally two days before Christmas – the lucky numbers of the famous Spanish Christmas lottery began to be drawn at the Teatro Real Opera House (opened in 1850). It is watched by millions of people live on TV.
The main prize is called “El Gordo”. This translates as “chubby”. With good reason: Four million euros are awarded for the full win.
The cost of a complete set is 200 euros in Spain. However, since this is too expensive for many players, “Décimo” – “one-tenth of the ticket” – has become a common occurrence. It costs 20 euros. Accordingly, the winners of this lottery will receive one tenth of “El Gordo”, or 400,000 euros.
The next highest win after “El Gordo” is still proud of 1.25 million euros for the full ticket.
“El Gordo” can be distributed several times, because each batch is issued in an issue of 172 pieces, so that there are several main prizes. One of the oldest and largest clouds in the world, it started over 200 years ago. The first drawing was made in 1812.
A total of 2.4 billion euros to be played are now waiting for the winners. Since smaller prizes are also withdrawn, the celebration can last up to four hours.
Curious: In 2019, the main prize was withdrawn about ten minutes after the start.
“El Gordo” – a huge scene!
There are two golden lottery drums in the opera house. In one there are 100,000 small wooden balls with ticket numbers, in the other 1,800 larger balls with winnings. During the draw, a ball falls from each barrel at the same time: the ticket number and the corresponding prize.
Students from San Ildefonso boarding school in Madrid sing ticket numbers. Children are considered as lucky charms.
By the way: a lot of about 3.4 billion euros was sold this year. A good billion of them go to the state as taxes.