January 4, 2012

OR: WHY CHRISTMAS TAKES PLACE 12 DAYS LATER HERE ...

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!
XOXO LOLA:)

26 comments:

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I think I'd celebrate both if I lived there!

Judie said...

A FABULOUS, FABULOUS post, Nora! Our granddaughter, Kaitlin, spent a semester in Spain last year, and plans to go to graduate school there next fall. She absolutely adores Spain and the people, and will probably live there for a long time.

Have a wonderful Christmas!!!

xoxo

Riet said...

That is really ibteresting I think every country has its own ways. Great G word

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I know a lot of people here start taking down their Christmas decorations the day after Christmas, but we leave ours up until The Epiphany and beyond...sometimes until the middle of January. That's our tradition. It takes a while to put everything up and we love the lighted tree, so we keep it all up.

Karen S. said...

I know! ...and it's just as special as every other's celebrations...and so much of it reminds me of Father Christmas as my mother always thought of instead of Santa! This is a fine example...so nicely done!

jordiegirl said...

A very interesting read - thank you.

Sandy said...

In my area is a large Greek Community and they celebrate the Epiphany down at the sponge docks in Tarpen Springs.. one of the local children dives into the water to see who will get the Cross.. it's a wonderful, colorful celebration...
Your post is very informative.
thanks for sharing
Sandy

anitamombanita said...

What a great post. I love seeing the traditions of other cultures. Great costumes. And ok, I'm kind of drooling over that Roscón de reyes... que rico!!! Happy New Year to you!

bichonpawz said...

Hi there Lola and Nora! It is so interesting to read about your world! We love hearing about traditions and holidays and such! Our very best wishes for a Happy New Year! Enjoy all of your holidays!

Tracy said...

Ok I am convinced when I win the Lottery I am buying a home in Spain just to have Christmas twice
Thank you for sharing

Jenny said...

Wow. I've read of some of these customs but seeing the pictures really brought them to life for me.

It's always fascinating to me how small (and accessible) makes the world!

Sending you belated, but still warm, holiday wishes and my hopes that 2012 will be a lovely year for you filled with creativity, joy and discovery!

Hugs from Arizona!

A+

Nezzy said...

Then we have somethin' in common sweet blogsister. We celebrated Christmas here on the Pondersa a week late and on our 39th anniversary you'll be makin' la fiesta de los Reyos Magos. Woohoo!!!

We'll be celebratin' ourselves! Heeehehe!

I loved the way this tradition came to life through your wonderful pictures.

God bless ya and have a wonderful celebration and a great 2012 sweetie!!! :o)

beckyp said...

i often wonder why more people dont celebrate the epiphany great post

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This looks like a wonderful festival! We were just talking about the three kings at my house.

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Lola and Nora,

That is why I enjoy blogging as we find out the customs and traditions of others.
The festival and celebrations look wonderful, as does the Roscon de Reyes.
Thanks for sharing.

Wishing you the happiest New Year
Hugs
Carolyn

eden said...

Beautiful photos.

Happy New Year.

Steph said...

Wow. I am familiar with King Cake (yum) due to our friends from Louisiana, but I had no idea of this whole celebration. I love learning about different practices and customs from around the world. Thanks for sharing this!

Melissa said...

What a great post! So much fun to learn about the celebrations in other parts of the world. Thanks for sharing!

chubskulit said...

Gorgeous rubies!

My Ruby, have a great week.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Such a colourful celebration laden with reds! I had no idea about this custom! A fascinating post!

Ralph said...

The Wise Men are honored, their dedication to following the star allowed them to bear their gifts to the savior king. An amazing sight we won't see in the USA, where traditions are not nearly that old...I wonder what the gifts in the baked ring really are??

maria said...

Great info. Happy RT!

Mine's here.

Robin said...

How wonderfully festive and colorful. I'm going to be in Barcelona over Easter weekend, I can't wait to see what they've got on :).

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Felisol said...

Blog and learn is my new motto.The Scandinavians celebrate Christmas Eve, December 24th, I guess the Germans too. The English celebrate 1. Day, December 25th. I know the Russians also celebrates January 6th, Twelfth Night.Never knew the Spanish costumes.I like countries to stick to their own traditions.
By and by we are loosing our identity to the unknown xmas, and that is so sad.
Wonderful illuminating colours.

Mika said...

That looks awesome! Two thumbs up :)

Nezzy said...

'Just popped in to wish you a great day sweetie.

I told my Hubby 'bout this post.

God bless ya :o)