Why Spain is fascinated by the El Gordo Lottery every Christmas? Every Christmas whole Spain is looking forward to the Spanish lottery. This very special lottery has a special draw on December 22nd. The high jackpot definitely attracts a lot of people. It’s the reason why the lottery is called ‘El Gordo’, which means something like “the big one”.
Loteria de Navidad
El Gordo is part of a weekly lottery draw. Normally the jackpot is much lower. However, with Christmas the lottery wants to do something extra. Becoming a millionaire makes the holidays really unforgettable. El Gordo is not the official name of this lottery. In Spanish it’s actually called ‘Loteria de Navidad’ (Christmas lottery) or ‘Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad’ (Special Christmas draw). It already exists since the 19th century. Back then orphans from Madrid sang and read the lottery numbers. It’s very special that this tradition still exists.
Prize money of El Gordo
The history of the El Gordo prize money is incredible. In 2011 the total amount of prize money was about 2.5 billion euros. The residents of a small village in Northern-Spain won about 400.000 euros. The Spanish government organizes this special lottery draw by working together with S.L Loterías Y Apuestas. For the winners it’s a great advantage that he lottery prizes free from betting tax. However, this lottery is not only good for individuals or villages. Every year about 1 billion euros is donated to charity.
Spanish national tradition El Gordo
El Gordo is a Spanish national tradition. Every year the lottery starts at December 22nd at 8 am. Even the president and a notary are involved. Spain is obsessed with the lottery all day. Who will become a millionaire, perhaps the neighbor or yourself? There’s an automatic system to show the winning numbers. This is big difference with the old lottery, that was established in 1812. Back then they used numbers on paper. The lottery also printed the name ‘Sorteo de Navidad’ on the tickets to make clear what is was about. In 2017 there is an automatic system to show the winning numbers.
Special task for orphans
Children from the orphanage of the Colegio de San Ildefenso have a special task during El Gordo. It’s very cute to see actually. They take two lottery balls from two different tubes. Then one of the children sings the number, and the other one reveals the winning prize. Subsequently, the singing children place the lottery balls on two poles. When these poles are full, the lottery balls are placed in a special box for the notary. It’s definitely a very interesting tradition to see. After this, new children will follow to do the same.
Watch the lottery El Gordo live
You can win several prizes, from 1 to 1000 and more than a million euros. The lottery draw takes place all day. You can even following it live on the Spanish television channel TVE and it’s website. You should definitely pay attention if you’re taking part in the El Gordo lottery. The names of all the winners are revealed with a special list from the ‘Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre’.
A very special Christmas
At the end of the evening all the winners are known, and Spain has some new millionaires. Thanks to the high jackpot El Gordo is an incredibly popular lottery. It makes Christmas in Spain even more special. Perhaps you’ll start the new year as a rich man or woman! Some Spanish people are not able to buy a lottery ticket for themselves. This is why sometimes whole villages are taking participating. Everyone in the village gives a small amount of money to buy tickets.
Buy a ticket from abroad
Don’t be sad when you’re from another country than Spain. It’s now possible to buy a El Gordo lottery ticket from other countries as well. You can buy it in the stores or online. Online you can even choose your own lottery number. The lottery has quite a long build-up actually, because the selling of tickets starts in the summer already. In the summer it’s possible to participate in another ‘El Gordo’ as well. It also has a high jackpot, but not like the Christmas one. The summer version is known as ‘El Gordo de Verano’ (the big one in the summer).
Prize of the El Gordo tickets
A lottery ticket looks not very cheap at first. For a full ticket you need to pay about 200 euros. However, you can divide it in so called ‘décimos’. In that case you only pay 1/10 of 200 euros. So the lottery ticket has a normal price of 20 euros.