In keeping with tradition, the number was called out by children from Madrid’s San Ildefonso school in a nationally televised draw at Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house, although this year the event was held under tight restrictions owing to the coronavirus.
The incredibly popular lottery will dish out a total of 2.4 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in prizes, much of it in hundreds of smaller prizes.
A worker touches winning numbered lottery balls at Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house during Spain’s bumper Christmas lottery draw known as El Gordo, or The Fat One, in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Families, friends and co-workers traditionally buy the 20-euro tickets — or "decimos (tenths)" — together as part of a winter holiday tradition. They then wait in hope that fortune may come their way.
Other lotteries have bigger individual top prizes but Spain’s Christmas lottery, held each year on Dec. 22, is ranked as the world’s richest for the total prize money involved.
The lottery was held without an audience this year. Organizers and participants on the theater’s stage donned masks and took PCR tests beforehand. The children were allowed to remove the masks briefly as they sang out the numbers and prizes.
Spain established its national lottery as a charity in 1763 during the reign of King Carlos III. Its objective later became to shore up state coffers. It also helps several charities.