Do you know what the Christmas Gordo is?

Let us tell you the story of this Spanish Christmas tradition.

Although the official dates of Christmas in Spain are from December 24 to January 6 (coinciding with the school holidays), December 22 is also marked on the Spanish Christmas calendar. The reason is that this day marks the draw of “El Gordo”. Do you know what we are talking about? Have you ever heard this expression?

Do you know what the Christmas Gordo is? 1

Why is it called “El Gordo”?

“El Gordo” is the Extraordinary Christmas Draw of the Lottery in Spain.

According to some sources, it is called so because, at the end of the 18th century, the advertising for this draw included a man, short and a little chubby, who had his body full of lottery numbers.

Do you know what the Christmas Gordo is? 2

Although the official name of this character was “el Enano Afortunado” (the Lucky Dwarf) or “el Fanático de la Lotería” (the Lottery Fanatic), eventually the nickname “Gordo” was used to refer to him, and over the years, the first prize of the draw was thus named.

History of the Extraordinary Christmas Draw

The Christmas Lottery Draw in Spain is considered one of the oldest in the world.

Its history dates back to 1812, when Spain was in the midst of the War of Independence against the French.

That year, the Cortes of Cádiz, where the provisional Spanish government was located, proposed to create this game to raise money to fund the conflict.

The first Christmas Lottery ticket went on sale on December 18 of that year.

The price of the ticket was 40 reales, and the first prize went to the number 03604.

The winner received 8,000 strong pesos.

Obviously, this draw was very different from the one we know today, and not just because of the modesty of the prize.

That “Gordo” of 1812 was only held in the towns of Cádiz and San Fernando, under the name of “Modern Lottery”.

As the French withdrew and the Spanish troops advanced the draw spread, and just two years later, in 1815, it was already held in Madrid.

Do you know what the Christmas Gordo is? 3

Even so, it was not until the end of the 19th century, specifically until 1892, that it began to be called “Christmas Draw” throughout the country.

Since then, it has been held uninterrupted, although during the Spanish Civil War there were two parallel draws (one for each side of the war, the Republican and the Nationalist).

For many years, Spaniards followed this draw on the radio or read the winning numbers in the press the next day.

Over time, it began to be broadcast live on television, becoming, for many people, a tradition to watch it every December 22 with friends and family.

What is a “décimo” and what is the Christmas Lottery prize?

Do you know what the Christmas Gordo is? 4

In Spain, practically everyone plays the Christmas Lottery.

It is also very common to buy “décimos” half and half with friends and family and share the prize.

The décimo is the minimum unit of the draw.

As its name suggests, it is one-tenth of a ticket: in other words, each ticket consists of 10 décimos that have the same number and belong to the same series.

In total, Spain’s Christmas Gordo has 100,000 numbers, issued in 172 series, whose digits range from 00,000 to 99,999.

The first prize is €400,000! for each décimo played (the décimo costs €20), although the Extraordinary Christmas Draw distributes more than 2.5 billion euros in prizes each year.

Do you already have your décimo for the next draw?”

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这些是我们学生的一些意见。 都是你们给我们的礼物!

Do you know what the Christmas Gordo is? 6
Peter Hughes Avatar
Peter Hughes
I really enjoyed my time at Taronja. For me everything came together for a fantastic experience. The teachers and teaching methods are great, the school has a great atmosphere where one rapidly feels comfortable and part of what is happening. The mix of different ages is also fantastic, it is great to get so much intergenerational contact. Finally, Valencia is a fantastic city; a nice size, loads of things going on, and I would almost say that it has a spirit.
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2 großartige Wochen in Valencia Die Zeit in der Escuela Taronja hat uns so gut gefallen, dass aus einer Woche Sprachkurs und einer Woche Urlaub 2 Wochen Sprachkurs wurden. Alle Mitarbeiter der Schule waren wahnsinnig nett, motiviert und hilfsbereit! Der Unterricht ist effektiv und nie langweilig! Wir haben als absolute Anfänger begonnen und waren begeistert, wie es die Lehrer schaffen, dass man trotzdem alles versteht obwohl der Unterricht ausschließlich auf Spanisch ist.
Der nächste Aufenthalt ist schon geplant!
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Une expérience et des rencontres inoubliables Taronja est une excellente école avec des professeurs qui aiment leur travail et une ambiance toujours joyeuse ! Située en plein centre de la ville, il y a de nombreuses choses à faire très proche sans compter les activités organisées tous les jours par l'école. C'est une excellente alternative pour celles et ceux qui souhaitent voyager seuls mais qui aiment la compagnie et les nouvelles rencontres. Les cours sont variés et ne durent pas trop de temps ce qui laissent du temps pour visiter et profiter de la vida espanola ! 🙂 J'y retourne pour une 3e et non dernière fois, je la conseille à quiconque aime apprendre les langues et est intéressé de découvrir la culture espagnole de manière différente qu'en étant un simple touriste !
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Wunderbare Schule und tolle Erfahrung! Ich war zwei Wochen in Taronja und kann die Schule nur wärmstens weiterempfehlen. Die Leser sind alle sehr gut und sympathisch, der Unterricht ist sehr interaktiv und digital und man lernt sehr viel in kurzer Zeit. Die Schule organisiert unter der Woche und am Wochenende zahlreiche Freizeitaktivitäten, bei denen man Spanisch übt, die Umgebung entdecken kann und viele unvergessliche Momente erlebt.
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Tolle Schule, Sehr schöner Aufenthalt in Valencia Ich bin in dieser Schule für ein intensiv Spanisch Kurs gewesen. Es war eine tolle Erfahrung und eine individuelle Beträuung. An verschiedenen Aktivitäten konnte man teilnehmen, war aber kein muss. Würde die Schule und auch den Aufenthalt jedem empfehlen. Die Mitarbeiter sind sehr hilfsbereit, es sind aufgeschlossene und junge Menschen.
Aylin Ayik
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Roderick C Avatar
Roderick C
5 star rating
Great Week at Taronja Both my children have been to Taronja to work on their their Spanish (my daughter four times so far) and have both made excellent progress. Then, at long last, Dad made it too! I was looking for an advanced course, which can be difficult to find in smaller schools so it was great to find somewhere that can offer courses at a more demanding level, and even better, that are well taught. All this was backed up with daily printouts of the topics and new vocabulary that arose as we went along. Plenty of great extracurricular laid on outside the formal teaching. Inevitably this was better suited for those a wee bit younger than myself but my two (18 and 21) had an absolute ball! I opted to stay with a Spanish family and was very lucky to be assigned someone who was not only great company but who upon discovering it was my birthday, even laid on a birthday party for me!
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Albena Bali
It's not an ordinary language school, it's way more than that! If you want to feel the real Spanish atmosphere, if you want to learn, be surrounded by positive people, have fun and make new friends this is your place! Don't chose just a language school, chose an entire experience! Hope to come back very soon! ☀️☀️☀️
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Lee Freeman Avatar
Lee Freeman
I spent a fantastic week at Taronja in May 2019. The booking process was really straightforward (and I appreciated being able to sort out my accommodation through the school too) albeit a little embarrassing when recording a video of myself to have my level assessed 🙈. The booking information I received indicated that someone would be there to greet me at the accommodation upon arrival, but this wasn't the case – I didn't mind though because I'm a grown up and don't really need looking out for like that. The teachers and supporting staff were really friendly and helpful. The classes were challenging and taught entirely in Spanish, which I think is really beneficial and, for the level I was at (~B1), falling back to English shouldn't really be necessary. In the week I was there we alternated between days studying grammar (the present subjunctive) and more 'relaxing' days where we dived deeper into other topics such as ser/estar and por/para (though I would have been happier doing even more grammar studies, but maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment). I think what really stood out about my week at Taronja was the effort put into the social activities. There were things to do every evening and a weekend excursion had been organized too (but unfortunately I had to fly home that day and couldn't attend), so even if you arrive as a solo learner/traveller, you'll be able to find people to hang out with fairly quickly. In case it isn't clear, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend studying at Taronja, however I feel that attending for 1 week simply wasn't enough. Many of the people I met were staying for any amount of time from 3 weeks to 3 months. It's for this reason that I intend to return to Taronja next month for 2 weeks to try and really press on with improving my Spanish (and escape the miserable Dutch summer).
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