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Spanish Christmas lottery

The Christmas Lottery is one of the most anticipated Spanish Christmas traditions of the year and is held every December 22.

This is the popular name of the Extraordinary Christmas Draw, and it is the most important and popular lottery draw of the year in Spain.

It is typical to wake up that day in Spanish houses with the sound of children singing the typical “million eeeeeuros”, while you wait for that year to finally touch (win) your “El Gordo”.

Cae en Madrid “Gordo” de Lotería de Navidad de España – NotimexTV

Christmas Lottery Draw 2017

It is held in Madrid every year on December 22 and is administered by the state company Loterías y Apuestas del Estado.

The first Christmas raffle was held on December 18, 1812, in Cádiz and the Gordo prize went to number 03604.

At that time, the price of the ticket was 40 reais with a prize of 4,000 pesetas.

The first time the name Sorteo de Navidad was used was in 1892.

The tickets are called tenths because the bettor plays the “tenth” part of the amount of the ticket, that is, a ticket is subdivided into ten-tenths.

His phrases such as “May luck be with you” or the current “The best prize is to share it” are also famous.

But what is “El Gordo”?

“El Gordo” (here it would mean “the biggest”) is the top prize in the Christmas raffle and is named for the large amount of money won by whoever has the winning number.

Since 2011 it has had a value of four million euros per ticket, 400,000 euros per tenth or 20,000 euros per euro wagered.

The Christmas lottery sales period is the longest of the year since the lottery administrations (this is the name of the place where the tickets are sold) receive the numbers in the first weeks of July, and from that moment it is possible to buy it.

And how does the Christmas lottery draw work?

During the Christmas Lottery Draw, students from the San Ildefonso School, one of the oldest educational centres in Spain and whose origin dates back to the time of the Catholic Monarchs (15th century).

These children collect the balls from two drums, one with the prizes and the other with the numbers, and both sing with a very traditional rhythm of the Christmas raffle, which serves as a soundtrack to the excitement of millions of Spaniards that day.

Since when do children sing in the Christmas raffle?

The first time that the children of the Colegio de San Ildefonso in Madrid sang the numbers of the National Lottery was on March 9, 1871.

Originally, the Colegio de San Ildefonso, founded in Madrid in 1543,  functioned as an orphanage for male children, with the City Council being in charge of offering them an education on a trade.

Until 1983, it was only men who gave voice to the awards.

Starting in 1984, girls also began to participate.

The expected announcement of the Christmas lottery

 The Christmas lottery announcements have also become another endearing tradition of these Christmas dates, together with others such as nougat or cava.

From the famous “Bald of the Christmas lottery” blowing the balls to expand luck for all in 2005 to cartoons in a mannequin factory in 2015, or the ones that we bring you here in this article like the one from Antonio’s Bar in 2014 and the town where the neighbours give each other a tenth anonymously.


If you have the chance to participate and get a tenth:

We wish you the best of luck!
Korespa spanish culture


More information and reviews:

    • Extraordinary Christmas Draw. Available Here
    • Spanish Christmas Lottery. Available Here
    • Wikimedia Commons -Solde. Spain National Lottery 2020. Available Here
    • All awards| Christmas Lottery 2020. Available Here
    • – RTVE. Announcement CHRISTMAS LOTTERY 2021. Available Here

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