Known as El Día de los Reyes Magos, this day in the Spanish culture is considered to be Christmas day. It is an event that is celebrated on the night of January 5th and on the actual day of the Three Kings which is January 6th.
What’s the origin?
According to the Bible, three wise men went to visit the newborn baby Jesus in Bethlehem and came bearing gifts. Their names were Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar, and they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the newborn savior.
The Three Wise Men (or Three Kings as translated from Spanish) have been honored in various European countries since the Middle Ages. Usually, the dates of January 6th and 7th are symbolic of representing the birth of Jesus, in contrast to December 25th as celebrated in the western world. When the tradition of Santa Claus bringing gifts to children on Christmas Day became popular, the Spanish culture adapted to this and used los Reyes Magos as the gift-bringers instead.
What do they do to celebrate this day?
On January 5th, in anticipation for the arrival of the Three Kings, Spanish towns and cities across the country put on spectacular parades. This parade is known as the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day parade. It brings dancers, musicians, and other brilliant performers to the streets. The parade finishes with the reyes magos riding on camels or elaborate floats. The best thing about the parade for children are the Three Kings who throw sweets and candy from the floats into the crowds.
On the morning of January 6th, children awake to presents brought from the Reyes Magos. Usually this day is spent with family and there is a big lunch to be prepared and enjoyed by all.
Not forgetting another big tradition on January 6th which is the Roscón de Reyes. This is a ring-shaped cake that is covered with small pieces of candy that are supposed to represent the jewels of the crown. It’s a sweet bread cake that can have cream inside and dried fruit on top too. The fun part of the cake is that there are two things hidden inside. One is a haba bean – whoever finds this is the unlucky one and their punishment is to buy the Roscón! The second surprise is a toy – whoever finds this is the king or queen of the day!
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