Here in Spain, the Christmas season stretches on. On January 6th we have had the last holiday, and with this, the Christmas vacations end. Do you know about this much-anticipated party in Spain for children and adults? Well, let’s look at some curious facts:
- A LITTLE HISTORY
After the birth of the baby Jesus, the Three Kings – Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar – head to Bethlehem to see the newborn. To find their way, they are guided by a star that takes them directly to the stable where Jesus is born, there with Mary and Joseph. The Three Kings from the East arrive at their destination on the night of January 5th, which is the day offerings are given to the baby. The gifts the Kings bring with them the entire trip are gold (priceless, the metal of kings); frankincense (represents the highest offering of the gods); and myrrh (which heralds his future suffering).
The tradition is, on the night of January 5th, shoes are left at the door of the house or on the balcony. This is so the kings see there’s someone at home and can give out the gifts. The next day all the children get up eagerly and with a pounding heart to open the gifts. But be careful! Not all the gifts are good. If you’re a child who has misbehaved… you’ll receive coal as a punishment. You can eat it because it’s made of sugar, but watch out for your teeth!
- LETTER TO THE THREE KINGS
Children excitedly write a letter to the Three Kings to list everything they want, whether wishes or gifts. The letters are often very elaborate, where children explain whether they’ve been good or not and what they need to improve for next year. Usually the letters are given to the pages on the day of the parade.
Have you written your letter yet? I’ll give you the start here: “Dear Three Kings, Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar,” and just ask the Kings for everything you want!
- THE PARADE
On January 5th in the afternoon-evening, you can see the parade. It consists of various floats where the Three Kings appear along with their pages and entourage, who give candies to the children. It’s a very family-oriented night full of color, creativity, joy and hope. The idea is to have fun with music, dancing and lights, and to see the children smile when they see the Three Kings and run alongside to catch the most candies.
- EL NIÑO LOTTERY
If you haven’t been lucky with the Christmas lottery, you can try again with the El Niño lottery. It’s held on January 6th and also gives out a lot of money and joy.
- THE ROSCÓN DE REYES
And why not… the last sweet for these holidays! The roscón is eaten on January 6th and consists of a cake with candied fruits and may or may not be filled with custard, whipped cream, or chocolate. A king or queen’s crown comes with the roscón, but you only get it if you’re lucky enough to get the hidden figurine in your piece. However, there is also a hidden bean and whoever gets it must pay for the roscón. It’s cheating to swallow it! With all this information, you know how you can enjoy this holiday: as a family or with friends, with lots of sweets and hope. Go enjoy it!