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El Gordo de Navidad

Spanish online reading and listening practice - level B1

This reading and listening exercise is about the Spanish Christmas tradition of playing the lottery known as El Gordo. This is suitable for level B1 Spanish students.


In the run up to Christmas nearly every Spanish household and workplace will be getting into a lather about El Gordo! El Gordo (literally "the fat one") is the Christmas lottery, and its attractive name comes from the fact that it has the biggest jackpot of all the lottery prizes in Spain. Each number is sold as a sheet of 10 perforated sub-tickets, and you can choose to buy a whole number (all 10 sub-tickets = one number) or just one or two sub-tickets each worth a tenth of a ticket ("one tenth" = un décimo). It's not just the official lottery kiosks that sell tickets, bars will often buy up numbers and sell décimos to their regulars, while groups of colleagues will buy several numbers and distribute the cost between them. People often buy their ticket by looking at the last one or two numbers; if your lucky number is 7 you will rush around all the kiosks and bars looking for tickets where the number ends in 7. On the day itself, everyone turns the TV on to watch the winning numbers - as the numbered balls come out of the rotating drum they are collected by children chosen from among the pupils of the Colegio de San Ildefonso. These children sing out the numbers, there's a video below so you can see how it happens (but it's not part of the exercise - it's just for information).

Exercise: El Gordo de Navidad

Click play to listen to the article. You can read the transcript at the same time or after. Click any phrase for the translation and links to related grammar lessons which you can add to your Kwiziq notebook to practise later. The bilingual reader article below was written and recorded by Kwiziq's Spanish expert, the fabulous Silvia Píriz.

Youtube video

Here's a video so that you can see what happens when they draw the numbers and how the children sing them, it's not part of this exercise!
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Click any word in the text to see its translation and related grammar lessons.

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