Tue 21 December 2021
Spain News | 6th January 2022 - Día de los Reyes Magos
5-6th January, Día de los Reyes Magos- King´s Day.
Christmas celebrations are well underway here in the Marina Alta. All of the Spanish pueblos have their lights and christmas trees up. In comparison to the larger towns and cities, they may seem modest, but in this part of Spain, Christmas is still very much a religious occasion. The Spanish traditions are still preserved and not so corrupted by commercialism, as yet.
These days children in Spain often receive a gift from Santa Claus on the 25th December. However, it is the 5th and 6th January that create more excitement than any other days on the calendar.
History of King´s Day.
The evening of the 5th January is the celebration of the arrival of the three wise men ,after the birth of Jesus, in Bethlehem. Also known as the day of the Epiphany, this day is the day celebrated by all in Spain. Biblical reference and historical documents refer to them as wise astrologers but throughout the ages they have been promoted in status to Kings and even Saints.
Melchior- referred to as King of Persia, now represents Europe
Caspar (originally Gaspar)- referred to as King of India, now represents Asia
Balthazar- referred to as King of Arabia or Ethiopia, now represents Africa
Modern day Fiesta de los Reyes.
On the 5th January, the three King´s arrive in town to deliver the presents. This is when the celebrations begin. Crowds gather to welcome them from their long journey from the East. In the smaller towns this involves them riding on donkeys or horses, through the streets, to the church in the central plaza. In the larger towns the arrival of the kings is, sometimes, highly unusual. In Barcelona they arrive on huge sailing boats.
Afterwards, they join a parade on camels (sometimes real, sometimes fantastic handmade floats). This takes them through the streets and crowds of, sometimes, hundreds of thousands of people. They play music and wave at the children. They also throw out handfuls of sweets, which the kids collect and fill their pockets, the adults collect them in upturned umbrellas!
The fun starts in the afternoon so that the children can get home early for bed. As kids in the UK leave out stockings, in Spain, they clean their shoes and leave them by the door to be filled with gifts. They also leave sustenance for the Kings and their camels to help them on their way back to the Orient. The good kids get presents, the naughty ones get coal!
On the 6th January, the kids open their gifts and the day begins. Always family orientated, it involves an elaborate meal with seafood or roast meat as the main course.
The "Roscon de Reyes" is also a very time honoured tradition. This is a circular sweet bread or cake sprinkled with jewels (sugar and dried fruit), plain, iced or filled with cream. Hidden in the Roscon is a small figurine of a king or queen and a dried fava bean. The receiver of the monarch is King or Queen for the day and wears the paper crown, they will receive good luck in the coming year. The receiver of the bean however, has to save up and buy the Roscon next year!
Here in the Marina Alta, we love King´s Day. It means an extended time for Christmas and New Year festivities, when our relatives in the rest of Europe are putting away their decorations, we still have the bank holiday on the 6th January to look forward to.
To enjoy and take part in the Kings Day celebrations here in the Marina Alta, check with your local town hall to find out what´s on in your local pueblo. Here at Jacaranda Spain, we try to see the celebrations in a different town every year. This year we are heading to the beautiful coastal town of Denia to watch the parade. Watch this space!
To all of our valued friends and clients; we wish you health, wisdom, success, love and prosperity on El Día de los Reyes Magos 2022!