Spain opens bumper lottery festival ‘El Gordo’


Spain kicked off its winter break with a massive Christmas lottery called “El Gordo” and an unemployed Peruvian woman was among the winners of the 400,000 euro ($425,000) top prize. The Fat One on Thursday.

The winning ticket numbers were announced at Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house, where the woman, who is identified only by name, Perla, was immediately surrounded by reporters during the nationally televised event.

The woman said she lost her job at a cafe two years ago and bought lottery tickets “everywhere I went this year”. She revealed that she bought the 20 euro ticket with number 05490 that led to Thursday’s win in Spain’s northern Asturias region.

“I feel (award) it will come to me here today,” she excitedly told reporters as she stood next to her two children.

The woman said she plans to use the lottery proceeds, around 325,000 euros after taxes, to buy an apartment in Madrid where her children attend primary school and to donate to an unspecified church.

The hugely popular El Gordo has earned a total of €2.5 billion (US$2.7 billion) in prize money, the majority of which are hundreds of smaller sums. Buying and sharing tickets, known in Spanish as “decimos” (tenths) before Christmas is a tradition among family, friends and co-workers, as well as in bars and sports clubs. sport and society.

For weeks before that, people had lined up, even in the cold and rain, outside lottery offices, especially those that had sold winning tickets in the past. Ticket sales started months ago – this year as early as July.

The December 22 lottery began in 1812. From the very beginning, children from the San Ildefonso school in Madrid called out the winning numbers.

The kids picked up balls with the corresponding ticket numbers and prizes from two giant rolling drums. They sing both characters in a rhythmic rhythm known to everyone in Spain.

Other lotteries have larger individual prizes but Spain’s Christmas lottery, held annually on December 22nd, is ranked the richest in the world in terms of total winnings involved.

Spain established the national lottery as a charity in 1763 during the reign of King Carlos III. Its goal later became to strengthen the state coffers. It also helps a number of charities.

As with other years, the lottery created jubilant scenes in the streets and bars, with the winners laughing, dancing and singing over uncorked bottles of sparkling wine.


Raquel Redondo contributed to this report

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