Champagne corks popped around Spainon Sunday as jubilant winners celebrated scooping up prizes in the country's famed Christmas lottery, the world's richest.
One ticket-holder who slept in Sunday morning said he'd leapt up from his bed in surprise after hearing the television announce his ticket number for "El Gordo" (The Fat One) — the lottery's top prize, a cool 400,000-euro ($546,200) payoff.
Raul Clavero, 27, a mechanic living in the Madrid suburb of Leganes, then realized that four other members of his family had also bought tickets with the same winning numbers.
(Read more: Odds of winning the lottery)
Millions of Spaniards had been glued to their televisions as 2.5 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in prize money was distributed in a four-hour TV show. Unlike lotteries that offer one large jackpot, Spain's yuletide drawing sprinkles a variety of winnings on thousands of ticketholders.
Tales of joy and celebration were widely broadcast on TV stations, providing Spain's struggling population a rare moment of joy after another year of a brutal financial crisis.