Do you know the story of the Three Wise Kings? The story goes like this: after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Magi (the kings) were sent by King Herod to follow his star in the east to Bethlehem and worship him as would King Herod and all his people. When the star arrived at the place in which Jesus was born, they discovered him in the arms of his mother, Mary, and bowed down to worship him and present him with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.
It has been a long running tradition in Spain to celebrate the Three Wise Men over Father Christmas, reaching back to the oldest known celebration in 1885 in Alcoy, Alicante. With rising Anglosaxon influence, it is true that Father Christmas has been gaining more popularity but Spanish kids still seem to prefer celebrating the arrival of the Kings over him.
When we say celebrating, we mean it! The Spanish go all out for this occasion with lots of typical Kings food, televised parades, sweets, floats, music and, above all, lots of excited faces! So read on to discover what you can see (whether on your TV screen or in live action) during the start of the celebrations in December…
Like with Father Christmas, kids in Spanish-speaking countries welcome December by writing letters to whoever is their favourite of the Three Kings (Melchor, Gaspar or Baltasar), stating what they want to receive on the morning of the 6th January. On the eve of the 5th January, there are parades taking place in most big cities in Spanish-speaking countries, which represent their arrival to Bethlehem on camels. The Kings arrive, dishing out sweets for children into the crowds as excitement fills the air. After these exciting parades and shows, families return home where children will leave their shoes by the door with the hope that they will be filled with presents by the Kings. In return, they will leave food and drink for the Kings and their camels as this is the only time of year the camels eat or drink.
On the 6th, the actual Day of the Kings, families eat the Roscon de Reyes which is the Three Kings Cake. This cake is made from sweet bread, is adorned with dried fruits and hides both a prize and bean inside. The one who finds the prize is the lucky King or Queen for the day and the one who is unlucky enough to find the bean has to buy the cake for the following year.
In Mallorca, the parades of the 5th January will be celebrated in most villages but the most popular one will take place in the the island’s capital, Palma, starting at 6pm at Moll Vell and will run through towards Passeig del Born. Join in Spain’s most traditional fiesta!
From everyone at Gran Isla Hotels we wish you a very happy Three Kings Day and hope you enjoy celebrating this very special day with your loved ones!