THE NIGHT OF THE THREE KINGS
Continuing with Spanish Christmas traditions, in today's post we talk about the night and day of the Three Kings. In Spain, the custom of giving presents at Christmas has very special moments for children. They are the ones who are most excited about the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East, who enter through the windows, house by house, handing out presents in a single night. But they are not the only ones who enjoy it, even the grown-ups, who cannot help but be infected by their joy as they accompany them in the preparations for the big day: 6 January, sharing with them the process of the excited waiting is an experience full of tenderness and emotion. This Christmas tradition provides the little ones with unforgettable days full of warmth and magic.
First of all, the children must write the Letter to the Three Wise Men in which they indicate the presents they want them to bring them. Once they have done this, one of their favourite moments comes: handing it over. They can choose between doing it personally to the Three Wise Men when they "officially" arrive on 5 January or, a few days before, to the emissaries and royal postmen who are in the centre of each Spanish village. They will ask them if they have behaved well at school and with their families, because those who have not will be punished with the abandonment of the coal. In reality, this is a "sweet" condemnation because the coal is made of sugar.
The long-awaited date finally arrives and the whole family goes out excitedly to welcome the Three Wise Men, who arrive in the traditional Cavalcade, travelling through the streets on their camels laden with gifts, accompanied by the royal pages, who hand out sweets and treats to the children. Little by little, brightly coloured floats will pass by, inspired by popular children's characters, which will surprise the little ones non-stop. In the meantime, a brass band will liven up the party with Christmas songs. Watching the fun spectacle of joy, light and colour, and seeing how it is reflected in the smiling faces of the children, conveys indescribable happiness.
On this day, all towns and cities hold parades. Each one with its own particular touch, depending on the area in which it is located. In Barcelona, for example, the Three Wise Men arrive by sea, while in the town of Alarilla, in Guadalajara, their Majesties are so adventurous that they arrive by hang-glider and paraglider.
THE NIGHT OF THE THREE WISE MEN
After the parade, the children go to bed early, excited, to wait for Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar to enter through the window to leave the toys in their shoes. Beforehand, they must place water and bread on the window sill so that the camels can gather strength while the Three Wise Men do their work.
THE ROSCÓN (RING-SHAPED CAKE)
The day after the night of the Three Wise Men, families open and eat the traditional roscones, a sweet pastry decorated with pieces of crystallised fruit, usually filled with cream and with various surprises inside. This delicacy is typical in several regions of Spain on 6 January or Three Kings Day.
And these have been the traditions of the night and the day of the Three Kings in Spain. We hope we have accompanied you to learn more about Spanish culture and tradition today.
See you in the next post!