In the bustling scene of Christmas festivities in Spain, one event shines brightly: the Christmas lottery draw, also known as El Gordo. This tradition, rooted in Spanish culture, has endured over the years as one of the country’s most anticipated and exciting events.
Every year, thousands of people cross their fingers and purchase tickets in the hope of getting a slice of the coveted prize cake that is generously distributed in this special draw.
The history of El Gordo
Spain’s Christmas lottery has a rich history dating back more than two centuries. It originated in the 19th century, when the then Minister of Finance, Ciriaco González Carvajal, proposed the idea of a special lottery draw to raise funds for the State. The first edition was held in 1812, and since then, the lottery has continued uninterruptedly.
However, it was in 1892 that the term «El Gordo» was introduced to refer to the largest prize in the lottery. The tradition of singing the numbers and prizes aloud during the draw was also established at that time, adding a touch of theatricality and excitement to the event.
The prize breakdown
The El Gordo draw is known for its generosity in prize distribution, making it an especially exciting event for participants. As the years have progressed, the prize structure has evolved, but the spirit of massive gratification has remained constant.
Currently, the prize breakdown for the 185 series of 100,000 tickets, each divided into 10 tenths, of the Christmas Raffle is distributed as follows:
First prize (El Gordo): This is the most anticipated and coveted prize. It represents 4% of the total ticket issuance and has been awarded impressive sums over the years. The amount of the first prize may vary depending on the total issue of tickets sold. For the draw to be held on December 22, 2023, the first prize will be EUR 4,000,000 per series.
Second prize: It represents 4% of the total number of tickets sold and is usually also a significant sum. On the occasion of the 2023 drawing, it will be worth EUR 1,250,000 per series.
Third prize: Like the previous prizes, this prize represents 4% of the total ticket issue, a total of EUR 500,000 per series, and adds even more excitement to the draw.
Fourth prizes: In December 2023, two prizes of EUR 200,000 per series will be awarded as fourth prizes, representing 4% of the total issue.
Fifth prizes: Eight fifth prizes will be widely distributed, representing 4% of the total ticket issue, for a total of EUR 60,000 per series.
Pedrea: In addition to the main prizes, El Gordo also distributes thousands of smaller prizes, known as pedreas. These prizes are awarded when the winning number is close to the first, second, and third prizes. For the 2023 draw, there will be 1,794 5-digit pedreas worth EUR 1,000 per series.
Refunds: Last but not least, prizes are awarded to numbers matching the last digit of the first, second, and third prizes. This allows participants to recover their investment and play again the following year. In 2023, an estimated 9,999 winnings are expected, with prizes of EUR 200 each per series.
A Christmas dream come true
The Christmas raffle, with its generous prize breakdown and long history of tradition, has become a Christmas dream for many people in Spain and around the world. The event not only offers the chance to win substantial prizes, but also brings communities together in an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.
As the El Gordo draw continues to captivate the hearts of people in every corner of Spain, its legacy lives on as a symbol of the holiday season and as a reminder of the importance of sharing and celebrating together, even at the most unexpected times.