22 December 2013

Christmas lottery

Dear diary,

Yay! Christmas has started, at least here in Spain.

Since 1812 the Christmas lottery has meant the unofficial start of the Christmas holidays, it's commonly known as the "health day", I'll come back to that later.

The drawing of the numbers is done differently only for this particular day.

Firstly, there are two spherical vessels:
Sorteo Lotería Nacional El Gordo de Navidad
The biggest one containing 100,000 wooden balls, each with a unique 5-digit number on it.

The smaller vessel also contains wooden balls with the different prizes written on them:

1 for the "fat" one: El Gordo - 4,000,000€  - 400,000€
1 for the second prize           - 1,250,000€  - 125,000€
1 for the third prize              - 500,000€    - 50,000€
2 for the fourth prizes          - 200,000€    - 20,000€
8 for the fifth prizes            - 60,000€      - 6,000€
1,794 for the small prizes      - 1,000€         - 100€

People usually buy a tenth of a bill: "décimo", as it costs 20€ and not many people can afford to buy a whole bill so if you get lucky you have to divide the winning amount by 10 (second column).

The décimo can also be split again into smaller parts and sold from as low as a few cents, but those are not official lottery tickets. Someone buys one or more décimos and keeps them somewhere safe and prints out some smaller parts of that particular number to sell out, most of the time the price includes a small donation fee for some non-profit organization who will destine it to a good deed.

Secondly, all the 1,807 prizes are drawn by children aged 8-13 attending the San Ildefonso school and they sing the results in front of the public and the TV cameras for the national wide live feeding.

This year I only had 3 décimos, one I bought in Formentera, another in Santiago de Compostela and the third one, I buy every year to a friend of mine, is from my home town:
Décimos de Lotería Nacional sorteo de Navidad
And no guys, I've had no great luck so, as we use to say over here when you aren't one of the lucky winners: at least you have your health! That's why everybody is calling the 22nd December the health day. No winners just healthy people, lol.

I only get one of my 20€ back and surely I'll exchange that for a El Niño ticket: that's the second biggest lottery drawing in the year, it's held on January 6th, coinciding with the Three Kings or Wise Men festivity. This is when the Spanish children get their presents, even though more and more are changing to Christmas day in order to be able to play with them before school starts on January 7th.

Good luck or good health to y'all!


  1. New follower from the 2014 blogger challenge. Can't wait to see what you have in store.
    Love Vicky

    1. Can't wait either, thanks for stopping by Vicky!


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