Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tres Reyes

The final holiday event in Spain is January 6, or Three Kings' Day. Three Kings' Day represents the arrival of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem. It's also known as Epiphany in other parts of the world.
On this day, Los Tres Reyes Magos bring children presents, just like they brought to Baby Jesus. I actually like this tradition a lot. It's more symbolic to the Biblical story of gift-giving than our Santa (although I still support him too!). All the children of Spain wake up to see what gifts the Kings have left them in their shoes. My little niece didn't like the idea of strangers coming into their house at night, so she asked my sister-in-law if the Kings could leave the gifts at the doorstep.

Usually, each town will host a Three Kings parade and throw out candy to the children. The parade in Madrid is the biggest, and competition for candy is fierce. Several veteran candy catchers bring umbrellas turned upside down to catch the candy as it showers down.

In my husband's family's town in northern Spain, the Three Kings also make an appearance in the town square and pass out little toys to children. So back we went to the square to see the Kings. The crowd was even bigger this time than when Santa was visiting. Later that night we caught candy and waved at the Kings and their entourage of characters during the parade.

Meeting Los Reyes Magos.

Three Kings Parade
And Spongebob?? Don't remember him in the journey to Bethlehem.
Finally, you must eat a roscón de reyes on January 6. Similar to a King's Cake, the roscón is a baked, bready cake with sugar and candied fruit on top. Hidden inside the cake is a small porcelain baby Jesus or Wise Man. There is also a dried bean hidden. Whoever gets the slice of cake with the baby or the Wise Man, gets to be the king of the party- a paper crown is included with the roscón! Whoever gets the bean has to buy the cake the next year. I got lucky this year and found the figurine!

Queen of the party! 

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