Something I always thought was really interesting and never knew about is the tradition of the Reyes Magos (aka Three Kings who went to visit baby Jesus bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh). Traditionally Spanish children receive presents on the morning of January 6th, not on Christmas day. This tradition seems to make more sense than exchanging gifts on Christmas day…but I’m definitely not complaining about getting presents on two days instead of one! 🙂 In the States we exchanged gifts with my family on December 25th and in Spain with my boyfriend’s family on January 6th.
Three Kings Parade
On January 5th every year the Reyes Magos (Three Kings,Three Wise Men) arrive by boat in Bajo de Guia in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. They spend the entire afternoon traveling through the town in a big parade and give toys and candy to children who line the streets hoping for a glimpse of them (for the kids it’s like seeing Santa Claus!). As soon as the parade passes children excitedly rush home and leave out their shoes (instead of hanging stockings) and hop in bed; if they have been good this year they’ll wake up in the morning to find lots of presents and treats from the Reyes Magos.
Roscón de Reyes
Another fun tradition which takes place on January 6th is eating the Roscón de Reyes. It’s a large round cake (bread-like), with cream filling and candied fruit. Hidden within the cake are various prizes; usually small figurines, coins, and bills. If you get the figurine of the Rey, you get to wear the crown, if you find the bean you have to pay for the cake next year. Luckily this year I didn’t find the bean…but I wasn’t lucky enough to get any money either…maybe next year!