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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hurray! El Gordo is back!

El Gordo, the Bringer of Happiness!

If it's Christmas it must be time to welcome back El Gordo. In some countries Christmas is recognised by shopping mania. We completely overlook the religious significance and look only to the question, :What did you get for me?"

Christmas in Spain, a Catholic country has never been about that. In fact, gift exchanging takes place on the 7th of January when the Three Kings come to town. However, in Spain the whole country goes mad with lottery fever. Unlike lotteries elsewhere where one person walks away with the top prize where the jackpot could top 100 million, or more, (nobody needs to win that much), here the winnings are spread over a very large area.

The full cost of a ticket is 200 euros. For most people that is far too much to bet on one number, so it is possible to buy a portion of a full ticket. The usual thing is to buy a décimo, or one tenth of 200 euros. i.e. the cost is 20 euros and should the number win, ten percent of the winnings is what is paid out. to  the ticket holder. If the punter is able to afford 200 euros it is probably more advisable to spread the money around.

That idea is taken even further to allow people with a limited budget to buy participation for as little as three to five euros. These are called papeletas, or little papers. These are used by clubs and charity groups to raise funds for their working purposes that are generally well supported. Of course much less is paid to the winning ticket holder, but every little bit helps.

On December 22nd, the day when the draw takes place, more than a billion euros are paid out to so many people, I don't think anyone really knows how many benefit, but it is easy to imagine how much sweeter Christmas becomes if you are one of the lucky ones to win a significant amount of money, at least enough to pay off some of those outstanding bills. That is the kind of gift that really means something and everybody will find a use for it.

So, Good Luck! If El Gordo is not kind to you, there will be El Niño close behind to try again.

Copyright (c) 2012   Eugene Carmichael