Next December 22, Spain will live one of the most anticipated moments of the year: the Christmas lottery raffle, also called ‘El Gordo de Navidad’. It is the most important raffle for our country, a moment of hope and joy. And one that more and more foreign citizens share. If these days you are visiting Alicante, do not forget to buy your tenth in any lottery administration in the city. Imagine that you are the one to win the 400,000 euros of El Gordo!
The extraordinary Christmas Lottery raffle has a century-old tradition. Its origin goes back to the year 1812, the first in which it was celebrated under the name of ‘Modern Lottery’. It was December 18 and 8,000 reales (the currency of that time) were distributed with the first prize, which was number 03604. Each person played 40 reales per ticket, which were printed on paper. How the thing has changed! Last year 2016 more than 13 million tickets were sold for a value of more than 2,600 million euros. And every time we buy more lottery online.
With the Christmas lottery raffle comes another of the most anticipated events: the TV spot. It is one of the most talked about advertising campaigns in the country. Great directors of cinema and of television have directed the spots of El Gordo de Navidad, and great music and film stars of our country have appeared in many of the advertising spots. This year, the filmmaker Alejandro Amenabar is in charge of the campaign, with an announcement that has left no one indifferent. An extraterrestrial and Daniel, a young earthling, meet in one of the Lottery administrations. And then a love story from another world begins…
Traditions and anecdotes
The Christmas Lottery raffle is full of traditions and magical moments. Since the first edition of 1812, the children of the San Ildefonso School are responsible for singing the numbers. These numbers are stuck in drums, in wooden balls. The number is in one drum, and the prize is in another. The drums turn and when they stop one of the balls falls from each sphere, bringing luck to all corners of Spain.
The Christmas raffle takes place at the Teatro Real in Madrid, where people from all over the country meet. Many people are disguised and others carry all kinds of good luck charms. And throughout all these years of history, there are hundreds of anecdotes to tell. One of the best-known stories takes us to the year 1949. A neighbor from Malaga dreamed that 55,666 would be the winning number, and he bought it. And, to everyone’s surprise, that was the number in which the Christmas Gordo relapsed.
In 2009, an immigrant who had come to Spain to seek a better life went from having absolutely no money to winning the first prize and start a new and better life. And in 2013 something very special happened: one of the people who was in the room watching the raffle won the second prize with the number 79,712. It was the best day of his life.
And, did you know that one of the lottery administrations that sells the most in Spain is located in Benidorm? It is the ‘Administración número 4’ and last year it sold 25,000 tickets of the Christmas lottery raffle. Another of the best known is Lotería Sol from Madrid, which has been open since the beginning of the 20th century. The Bruixa d’Or is also one of the most famous and best-selling administrations, especially for foreign citizens.
Our European and South American neighbors also buy lots of lottery every year. Mexicans, Germans, French and Russians spend the most in the Christmas lottery draw. If you want to buy Christmas lottery from abroad, you can find out how to do it in this link.
Good luck to all of you on December 22!