Once December hits, the city of Madrid is flooded with Christmas tradition, and El Gordo is one of them! This is a tradition that goes beyond a simple lottery, it’s the second longest continuously running lottery in the world and as measured by the total prize payout is considered the biggest lottery worldwide. It’s always celebrated on 22nd of December.
The period of selling tickets for the draw is the largest during the year, because you can start buying it all the way in July! It´s based on tickets with different amount of price, but the most purchased one is known as “el décimo” that costs 20€. There is a long standing tradition that says you always have to pay for the ticket, and never accept it as a gift. Otherwise it won´t be a winning one. Aside from the lottery itself, Spaniards all over the country eagerly anticipate the announcement of the promotional video. These adverts play like mini movies that try to evoke the spirit of the holidays. Viewers usually finish the video with a few tears in their eyes and are ready to start spending holiday time with friends and family.
The most exciting part is the moment when El Gordo is drawn. Lottery outlets usually only sell tickets for one or two numbers, so the winners of the largest prizes often live in the same town or area or work for the same company. The prize of El Gordo is 4.000.000 €. The total amount paid out is 2,240,000,000€.
You can buy your El Gordo tickets at any official lottery stand in your city – they are called loterias y apuestas del estado and during the Christmas season you’ll find them easily by following the very large lines of people!