The excitement was palpable in Spain for the result of ‘El Gordo’ – the Fat One – the traditional Christmas lottery. Who had won the top prize?
The answer was: a whole village. Or at least, many people in Grañen, in the northern province of Huesca, who clubbed together to choose what turned out to be the winning number: 58,268.
The word ‘fiesta’ was perhaps inadequate to describe the scene in one bar, as a delirious group of people sprayed cava and gave each other the bumps. Two young men jumped around singing “Viva España!”
“We’re millionaires, millionaires! How lucky! We really needed it. We’ll celebrate, big time!” cried one man, his arm draped around another’s shoulder.
“A tenth, that’s enough for me!” said his neighbour as they both rocked from side to side in delight.
“What will you do with it?” asked a reporter.
“Enjoy it with friends, right Alberto?”
With the winning ticket worth four million euros, a tenth – 400,000 – is not to be sniffed at.
Overall, the El Gordo draw will pay out some 2.3 billion euros to over a million winners in Spain and around the world.
Despite the eurozone debt crisis and the highest jobless rate in the EU, 90 per cent of adult Spaniards are said to have played the Christmas lottery.
It is hardly surprising perhaps, that the Fat One is Spain’s most lucrative public enterprise.
Also read: Key facts about El Gordo