Spain held its annual “El Gordo,” or “Fat One,” Christmas lottery Wednesday, awarding over 2.4 billion euros, or $2.7 billion, in prizes.
The Christmas lottery was ranked as the world’s richest in terms of total prize money. The 2.4 billion euros in prizes made up 70 percent of ticket sales.
El País, a Spanish daily newspaper, reported that this year’s winning number was 86148. The holder of that number won 4 million euros, or $4.5 million. Lesser prizes were still substantial, however, with the second prize winning 1.25 million euros and third winning 500,000 euros, or $1.4 million and $556 thousand respectively.
The lottery has been taking place every year on December 22 since 1812. According to El País, historians say the lottery was made to buy bullets and make cannons to defend the city of Cádiz against the Napoleonic invasion from France.
While the war still raged on, Spanish officials decided to maintain the lottery, moving its center of operations from Cádiz to Madrid.
By tradition, children at San Ildefonso school sing the lottery results every year in a ceremony that has mostly not changed since 1812.