December 21st, 2009

Let me see..

My El Gordo number: 29393



Tomorrow morning, December 22, it's The Big One, El Gordo, the Spanish Christmas lottery, the biggest lottery in the world. My number is 29393. Fully €2,320,500,000 will be awarded in prizes.

But if I win, that's not how much I get. The top winning prize is €3 million for the winning number, but each number is issued 195 times, and then those are divided into tenths, so there are lots of winners. As is traditional here in Spain, I bought a tenth for €20 at my workplace, so my co-workers and I can celebrate or commiserate together. If our number wins, we each get €300,000, which is about US$425,000 (tax free, by the way).

If we win, there will be a party at work on Tuesday. Stop in with your congratulations.

There are many other prizes, and it gets complicated: El Gordo proves that Spaniards can do math.

As is traditional, the winning numbers, all 13,334 out of 85,000, will be drawn by teams of students of San Idelfonso grade school. They will sing each number and its prize. It takes at least three hours and requires a number of student teams, and the live broadcasts will be watched and listened to by the entire country, breathlessly.

Meanwhile, happy Solstice.

— Sue Burke