Recession-hit Spain holds Christmas lottery draw that hands out 2.5 billion euros to winners

Millions of Spaniards are glued to televisions as the country's cherished Christmas lottery — the world's richest — distributes a bounty of 2.5 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in prize money to winning ticket owners.

The draw is so popular that most of Spain's 46 million inhabitants traditionally watch some part of it live in the hope that the school children singing out winning numbers will call out their ticket.

The top prize — known as "El Gordo" (The Fat One) — gives lucky winners 400,000 euros per ticket Sunday, while the second-best number nets 125,000 euros.

Unlike lotteries that offer one large jackpot, Spain's yuletide draw sprinkles winnings of values lower than El Gordo on thousands of ticket holders.