The draw featured school children singing out the numbers in an opulent ceremony in the Madrid Royal Theater that lasts around four hours.
El Gordo, or “the fat one,” is the top prize. Winners who buy a €20 ticket with the coveted number win €400,000 each.
The cash prize isn’t huge, but around 1,800 winning tickets are sold yearly. This year, El Gordo spread millions of euros across the regions of Galicia, Asturias, Andalusia, and Madrid.
One of the lucky ticket holders had even gone to the theater in Madrid to watch the draw live.
When Perla realized that she had won El Gordo, she shrieked, had a minor panic attack, and was attended to by paramedics.
Later, the Peruvian immigrant and mother recovered and spoke to the media.
“I knew I was going to win this year … I dreamed it,” she said, explaining how she was unemployed and would use the money to buy a house in Madrid.
Another huge winner was the small village in the northern region of Asturias called Moreda.
There, a lottery office sold €164 million worth of El Gordo tickets.
Despite the celebrations and excitement in several parts of Spain, most lottery holders emerge from the morning disappointed with their losses.
Spain’s Christmas lottery tradition dates back to 1812 as a way to raise funds to fight French troops.
Today, it continues to give an important boost to the state’s coffers, as tax collectors are entitled to 20% of all winnings beyond €40,000.
According to aa