The more than 2.5 billion euros (some $3.3 billion) distributed Saturday by Spain's Christmas lottery, the most anticipated and popular of the year, provided a breathing space for many Spaniards and immigrants, many of them jobless, amid the economic crisis the country is going through.
The lottery, now in its 200th year, was held for the first time at Madrid's Teatro Real, usually a setting for operas and grand concerts.
Luck was kind this year to the needy and rained millions on neighborhoods where many of the residents are unemployed.
Such was the case of an Ecuadorian immigrant, out of work and with all of her social security benefits spent, who won 400,000 euros (some $527,565) with her "El Gordo" (the Big One) ticket given her by a friend.
The lucky lady did not wish to give her name nor other details that might identify her, but told Efe that she will share the prize with her sister-in-law, with the friend who gave her the tenth share in a lottery ticket, and will send part of it to her family in Ecuador.
Playing and sharing the Christmas lottery is a tradition in Spain, though this year, for the severe economic crisis and sky-high unemployment rate, sales dropped by 8.03 percent compared with 2011. EFE