The top prize of Spain’s hugely popular Christmas lottery — El Gordo (the fat one) — as it is affectionately called, fell this year on a southern neighborhood of Madrid, at a lottery office on 4, Paseo de la Esperanza (4, Hope Boulevard).
Celebrations broke out all over the city, some at an old folks home down the street, some at a nearby bar, blasting reggae music and also in the office of Spain’s Socialist Party, where several people won. Dozens of lucky neighbors were euphoric about wining €400,000 ($418,000) each, in one of the world’s most popular and highly-anticipated lotteries.
“I’m going to pay off my mortgage, I’m so happy, I can’t believe it,” the very busy Maria Jose Rojo from Madrid, winner of the big prize and owner of the lottery shop that sold the winning number that ended in 13, told Anadolu Agency.
Spain’s Christmas lottery, spreading a total of €2.31 billion ($2.41 billion) worth of prizes, is one of the biggest in the world. It was created by the Spanish government in exile in 1812 in Cadiz, to raise money to fight Napoleon’s invading troops and has become a national craze. The prizes are not massive, but thousands of people win.
“I still am not fully conscious of what I won, wow, I’m sharing it with my boyfriend and we’re going to spend it on a house. A good investment, it’s best to save, one shouldn’t spend it all right away. Well, starting tomorrow!” Yolanda Cordobes, 23, top prize winner, told Anadolu Agency, as she held a glass of champagne. Cordobes studies marketing and veterinarian medicine, and works two part-time jobs, something which she may not need to do anymore.