Illuminated streets, family atmosphere, music, Christmas shopping, and of course, the lottery. The Spanish Christmas Lottery or simply Lotería de Navidad is a national lottery. In the Spanish-speaking media it is sometimes just called El Gordo and is the second longest continuously running lottery in the world.
The Christmas Lottery is one of the most deeply rooted traditions in Spain. Share tickets (décimos) with family members, with the group of friends, with coworkers … and dream about everything that can be done if you buy a ticket. The lottery administrations, during these months, are filled with people full of hope. The “décimos” are given or shared, because as the slogan of the Christmas Lottery says, “the best gift is to share it”.
On December 22nd, the date on which the lottery of Christmas is held, all the Spaniards follow the live draw on the radio or televisions at work or at home, consulting the internet via mobile … everyone wants to know if they or someone they know have won something.
From the first draw, the children of San Ildefonso were in charge of singing the numbers of the Christmas Lottery, which until 1913 were printed on papers. As of this date, the system of drums and wooden balls that is still used today was implemented. Currently, the maximum prize has a value of 4 million euros.
Although the statistics prove that the chances of winning are very low, each year the prize of this famous lottery makes someone happy, and this fact feeds the illusion of others who resort to lucky classics like rubbing the “décimo” by the gut of a pregnant woman, pass it through the head of a bald man, burn lottery tickets not awarded to return in the form of a prize or when going to buy the lottery, enter the administration with the right foot and even ask the lottery to take the “décimo” with the right hand so that the ticket is not contaminated by bad luck. There are numerous superstitious rites to call luck, and all Spaniards practice one or another, because you never know when you can win:
- Take a gold coin over at the time draw.
- Carry an antique iron key in the bag during the draw.
- Light a yellow candle to call luck.
- Carry a sprig of parsley on top.
- Rub the ticket on the back of a cat.
- Always buy the same number.
- Choose a significant number: a birthday, an anniversary, death, etc.
The Christmas Lottery in Spain is more than just a game of luck, it represents the very spirit of Christmas. The illusion, the hope and the feeling of community.
So, do you already have your number?