Dear readers, here in Spain, it is traditional for children to receive their Christmas presents from the three "Reyes Magos" – *G*AZPAR, MELCHOR and BALTASAR (above) this Thursday, January 5 (Epiphany Eve) - as per the Biblical story (see my previous post on gold, frankincense and myrrh). Almost every Spanish city or town organises parades or cabalgatas (pictured above and below) in the evening when the Kings and their servants parade and throw sweets to the children (and parents). Astute children (and parents) open umbrellas to collect them!
The parade of the three kings in Alcoy, Valencia (pictured below) claims to be the oldest in the world, having started in 1886. After the parade, there is a large feast, eaten either out at a restaurant or in someone’s home. There are traditional foods like jamon (usually pata negra), polvorones, roscos navidaños (a traditional, ring-shaped sweet bread or cake), drinks and Spanish Christmas carols, like the zambomba, may be sung. While the families are out celebrating, the Kings are said to visit each house and leave presents under the tree or in children’s shoes (as per letters left earlier in eg.the letterbox at this shopping center, captured above).
On January 6th, the centrepiece of la fiesta de los Reyes Magos is the Three Kings’ Cake or Roscón de Reyes (pictured above) - a sweet, ring-shaped cake with a small gift (a small figurine of the baby Jesus or another surprise depending on the region) and an actual dry broad bean (don’t ask!) baked into the middle. The one who gets the gift is crowned king/queen for the day but whoever gets the bean has to pay the value of the cake to the person who originally bought it or provide the following year’s King’s cake. Presents are opened - like a typical Western Christmas Day only 12 days later!
As times change, many families in Spain, though, are beginning to acknowledge Santa Claus and giving gifts on Christmas Day. Some families even celebrate both!
ANY SPECIAL NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS WHERE YOU LIVE? OR HAVE SEEN?
Do check out other Alphabe-Thursday posts @ Jenny Matlock, Ruby Tuesday2 and Rednesday @ suelovescherries.
Finally, thank you to all my dear readers who have visited or commented. Have a great weekend!
Enjoy, and my very best wishes to you and yours for 2012!