As every December 22nd, also this year, millions of Spanish people will be sitting in front of the television or glued to their mobile phones, to follow the live broadcast of the Christmas Lottery draw, with all their numbers at hand, in case one of them Is the winner. It is the starting gun before Christmas. The same as on January 6th, with the Niño Lottery draw, this marathon of family gatherings, lunches, dinners, and excess ends.

This lottery is so popular that many companies, groups of friends, and families buy the same number to be able to share the prize in case luck is with them. That is why many people feel compelled to buy these numbers, which all their closest environment possesses. It is no longer a question of whether you get a great prize or not, it is a question of not being the only one who does not have a ticket, the only one who cannot celebrate at that very moment with others that he has also been one of the lucky ones, and that therefore, it belongs to that group. The sense of belonging. And we are at Christmas, and everyone feels that they need a family, a friend ... I understand that what could be a magnificent vacation can turn into a nightmare for those who do not feel part of a group. To feel more alone than ever.

And this must have been thought of by the founder of said raffle, which makes the vast majority of people in Spain succumb to the spell of the lottery every year. But under the protection of the desired Christmas in which everything is peaceful and love, money does not seem a good ally, so it had to be disguised as more Christmas values ​​such as hope, sharing, love for family and friends, not to talk about religious feelings which are more and more in decay. In this way, each year the Christmas raffle is announced on television as the best gift to share with those closest to you. Every time you give someone a lottery ticket, you are giving them the possibility of achieving their most desired dreams, their hope, or perhaps ending with the grief of someone who, with water up to his neck, must face payments and more payments every month.

It was in 1812 when one of the ministers had the initiative to create this raffle in Cádiz, in order to raise money for the state coffers. Years later it would be extended to the entire national territory, thus becoming one of the greatest Christmas traditions in the country.

A group of children from the San Ildefonso school in Madrid are in charge of singing the numbers of the draw each year, with a very popular jingle, which obviously changed from pesetas to euros a few years ago. Only one of them will sing “El Gordo” (the fat one, the big one), which is how the first prize graced with the rain of millions is known. The lottery is sold in “Décimos” (tenths), which is how each printed paper to participate in the draw is called and which corresponds to one-tenth of the number to be played, it costs € 20. For every 20 euros played you can win 400,000 euros. It is believed that it is named El Gordo after one of the characters initially created to advertise this lottery, who had a chubby appearance.

20% of the prize will be paid to the Tax Agency, but not only the state benefits from this madness, which causes even those who never bet to do so on these dates. 1,720 tenths of each number are issued, but thousands of cultural, sports, charitable associations ... buy those numbers and issue small shares that they sell with an additional supplement that will be our small donation to their cause. This is why it is usual that since November your co-workers, the parents of your children's school, the waiter of your usual bar, the baker, the butcher ... all, all offer you participations of 2, 3 or 5 euros to help any type of association. Therefore, more than a desire to buy a number for the draw, this becomes a social obligation.

There are so many things in life more important than money! But they cost so much! " - Groucho Marx


But after this binge of gambling spending comes the hangover the next day. Not content with having lost large sums of money, except if you were one of those lucky few, the Spanish population consoles itself by thinking that they are fortunate to have health and a family to share the incipient Christmas with: “We didn’t win, but, ¡hey, good health! " (“No nos ha tocado, pero, ¡oye, salud que tengamos!”)

In addition to the first three prizes, there are countless small consolation prizes that mislead us to believe that we have not lost that much either. In addition, we have the opportunity to invest them in a second draw, which will end these long-awaited parties. Also in a Christmas way, but this time to the honor of the Child Jesus, on January 6th, taking advantage of the Three Wise Men holiday, we have a new opportunity to lose that little bit we had recovered.

But, boy, what if the lucky number is here? (Pero, chico, y ¿si toca aquí?) I already have my numbers, waiting to be able to uncork a bottle of champagne in the town square and shout that I also have that number. And if it is not our turn this year, another will be. Remember to be nice and try to make life easier for anyone, we might not win the lottery, but you never know when you can win a new friend.

Cheers, and happy holidays! ¡Salud, y felices fiestas!