For many countries Christmas is the most important celebration of the year but in Spain there is another important celebration during the festive season called the Día de Reyes. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry! In this post you will find out everything you need to know about the most anticipated day of the year for Spanish children.
What is the Día de los Reyes?
The 6th January is the Christian celebration of the Epiphany when the Three Wise Men (Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) came to present gifts to baby Jesus. Whilst many have Father Christmas or Santa as the figure that gives gifts during Christmas time, Spain sticks closer to the bible and instead uses the Three Wise Men as the gift givers.
When is it celebrated?
This is celebrated on the 6th January, so while many children do receive presents on 25th December, the most common day to give or receive gifts is 6th January in Spain. Many families get together for lunch and share their gifts on 6th January but on the 5th January, the Three Wise Men, make their entrance into the different Spanish cities for a parade through the center of urban areas.
What are the main traditions on this holiday?
Write a list of what you want!
Before the big day, children take their time to ask them for the different presents that they want. If they have been good throughout the year and behaved properly, then it is very likely that they get them, whether if they have been naughty, they will find coal instead of gifts. These days, the coal is actually made of sugar, but some years ago it was real coal.
Make sure the Three Kings are fed and watered!
Another tradition is to put milk and biscuits next to the Christmas tree for the Three Kings to feed themselves and some water for their camels. Children also leave out their best pair of shoes in a spot where the kings are sure to see them filled with presents.
Make sure you’re fed too!
Just after opening gifts, traditionally Spaniards eat a Roscón de Reyes. This is a sweet pastry styled cake with candied fruit (to symbolize the gems that adorned the Wise Men’s clothing). Inside the cake, two plastic wrapped figurines are hidden: a faba bean and a small king. Whoever gets the slice of the cake with the small king is the “king” or “queen” of the banquet, and is said to have good luck for the rest of the year. Whoever finds the faba bean has to pay for the Roscón!
Where can you watch the Three Wise Men’s parade in Madrid?
If you are in Madrid, the parade will be on 5th January, starting at 18:30 in Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz and will arrive to Plaza de Cibeles at 20:45, going through Paseo de la Castellana. Make sure you get there on time to find a nice spot and enjoy the candies and surprises the Three Wise Men will bring.
Website: Cabalgata de Reyes
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us! At LAE Kids we will be glad to answer any questions you might have. Follow us on Facebook and leave us a comment. Happy holidays!