Day of Health…

22 12 2009

Today is the Day of Health. Not because Spanish are health fanatics (although surprisingly they are surprisingly into fitness and healthy eating). Today is the day of the Lotería de Navidad, or Christmas lottery, and everyone has a ticket.

There’s a 3-hour broadcast of the draw of “El Gordo”, live on national TV. Kids wearing school uniforms almost  chant the winning numbers and their corresponding prizes. These kids have been practising for weeks and put your bingo callers to shame… check them out at

I think it’s the world’s biggest lottery in terms of the size of its prizes and number of participants. 80% of the Spanish population takes part in the Christmas lottery and it’s half of what they spend in total on lottery tickets. The name “El Gordo” actually refers to the first lottery prize, literally “the fat one” or “the big one”. And everyone is going to win. I’m not sure if it’s an inbred confidence of a positive attitude or a complete denial of mathematics but their’s this optimism that is unbelievable. There’s this aura of: “Despite the odds, someone has to win – and why shouldn’t it be me?” Mari Cruz reckons it’s because their deeply catholic and so God has got to be on their side… And although the odds are less than getting hit by a falling satellite… when the numbers are called people are genuinely surprised their number wasn’t called 🙂

So why the day of Health? Because even though ‘I/you/we’ didn’t win anything, we’ve got our health – and that’s what counts 🙂





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