Although in most countries around the world Santa Claus is in charge of delivering gifts, in Spain the most important festival for children is the Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Magos (Festival of the Three Magic Kings) on January 6, also known as Epiphany. The Christmas Day is also celebrated as in the whole Christian world but children receive only a small gift, waiting for the big gift opening on the 6th January.
During this occasion, many Christians do celebrate the “Three Kings “or Wise Men who followed the a star to the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Bethlehem and brought gifts to him: gold, incense and myrrh.
So, the number ‘3’ refers back to the number of men or Kings who visited the prophet Jesus Christ after his birth. According to the Christian religion, these three wise men came to pay homage to the newly born Messenger to hail him as a king in Bethlehem and this happened on January 6. For this reason, Christians tend to celebrate such day.
On the 5th, that’s to say the day before, many parades known as Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos take place throughout Spain which represent the journey made by the Three men to reach Baby Jesus. They gave gifts to the crowd and people brought umbrellas and keep them upside down in order to collect the candy given by the Kings during the procession.
During the day, children tend to write a letter to the Wise Men to ask for what they would like to receive and before going to bed they leave shoes on windowsills or under the Christmas tree to be filled with their gifts.
On the 6th, after the gift opening, traditionally people have breakfast with the Roscón de Reyes, a delicious round cake decorated with candied fruit, a symbol of the gems which ornamented the Wise Men clothes.
However, the cake contains two plastic wrapped figurines, a small king and a broad bean: if you find the king in your piece of cake, you will have good luck for the rest of the year. But, if you find the bean, you will have to pay the cake.
In France you might eat a ‘Galette des Rois’, a type of flat almond cake. It has a toy crown cooked inside it and is decorated on top with a gold paper crown.
BY Ameera MASROUR