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History of the Christmas Lottery

The history of the Extraordinary Christmas Lottery of the Loteria Nacional is one of our country´s longest traditions. That is why it has had such a long life, full of tradition and nostalgia. The lottery is part of our Christmas; its history brings up a multitude of memories and is a symbol of hope and good luck. Thus, let´s take a look at the most important dates:

1812 – The first lottery of the Loteria Nacional is held. That year, the price of a ticket was 40 Spanish reales and “El Gordo” (first prize) was 8,000 pesos fuertes (1 peso fuerte = 8 reales).

1832 – 12,000 numbers were issued. The ‘bajos’ (low ones) were the ones between 1 and 4,000, the medianos (middle ones) were from 4,001 to 8,000 and the altos (high ones) were between 8,001 and 12,000.

1837 – Two first prizes of the same amount are given out.

1892 – The lottery held during the Christmas season is now called the “Christmas Lottery”. The Christmas Lottery that year was held on 23 December.

1897 – The name “Sorteo de Navidad” (Christmas Draw) appears on the decimos (tenths).

1938 – Two lotteries are held, one in Barcelona and one in Burgos, as a result of the Civil War.

1942 – The tickets are now being printed at the Spanish National Stamp and Coinage Factory – Royal Mint

1957 – The first televised lottery is held. Up until then, it was broadcast over the radio or published in the press.

1974 – The lotteries of the Loteria Nacional are computerised.

1984 – Girls participate for the first time in the lottery´s history, when the School of San Ildefonso became coeducational.

2002 – The lottery is called out in euros for the first time.

2006 – A drum with a greater ball capacity is introduced.

The children of luck

The children of the School of San Ildefonso are probably the most awaited ones in the Christmas Lottery. They are the ones responsible for singing out the lucky numbers and everyone hopes that the numbers that land in their hands will make them millionaires. The School of San Ildefonso has a long tradition, which dates back to the year 1543, when Charles V of Spain issued a Royal Decree that provided the School with the materials it needed to fulfil its objectives. Since 9 March 1771, the children of the school are the ones responsible for singing out the numbers of the draws of the Loteria Nacional. Specifically, the first student in the school´s history to participate was Diego Lopez. According to those of the alumni association, “(…) randomly taking one of them (the balls), he calls out the number in a singsong voice and after showing it to the public, he brings it to his lips and tenderly kisses it…”.

Almost two centuries later, in 1984, girls participated for the first time in the history of the Christmas Lottery, when the school became coeducational.;

History of the Christmas Lottery – Loterías y Apuestas del Estado

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