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Thibaud, Cécile

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La Tribune de Genève - Switzerland | 23/12/2008

Christmas lottery in Spain the stuff of fairy tales

La Tribune de Genève describes the excitement in Spain over the annual Christmas lottery: "Corks fly from bottles of sparkling wine in Gari's bar. Ricardo, the barkeeper, weeps, sings, hugs and laughs all at the same time. A number is on everyone's lips: 80,076! The third winning number in the Christmas drawing of the national lottery. It was 'the' number on the tickets sold by Ricardo, and all the regulars at this modest bar had bought one. ... Enough to pay back part of the mortgage or other debts, to buy a new car or take a trip ... and above all 'have a bit of fun'. ... Spain holds the European record for lottery participation. But the traditional Christmas lottery has a special place, and has the country holding its breath. This year the crisis and the morose economic perspectives have added to the suspense. ... Each year the lottery is the subject of unbridled passion. It is the stuff of fairy tales, when good fortune strikes a bar frequented by immigrants, or a village where a factory has had to close down."

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