Three kings day in Spain

Why Spanish children receive Christmas presents on the 6th of January.

Did you know that in Spain children receive their gifts on the 6th of January?

What’s more, they don’t receive presents from Santa Claus, but from the Three Kings.

Do you want to learn more about the Three kings day in Spain?

The Three Kings Day in Spain

In the first week of January , while the rest of the world is returning to their normal routines after the Christmas vacation, Spanish children are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the Three Kings. It’s another very traditional Christmas celebration of Christian origin.

It is said that the Three Kings (Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar) travelled by camel from the East to Bethlehem guided by a star to see the newborn baby Jesus. Upon arrival, they offered three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Today, on the night of the 5th of January, the Three Kings (Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar) also bring presents for all the children who have behaved well throughout the year. In order to get the presents, Spanish children write a letter to the Three Kings asking for the specific things they would like to receive. Children that have misbehaved that year are given a lump of coal instead of presents. However, they don’t usually mind because it’s typically a sweet edible treat, rather than normal coal.

This day is called The Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings, and it’s the last Christmas holiday in Spain. It’s celebrated on the 5th and 6th of January.

carbón dulce

Niños con regalos

The 5th of January: The three kings’ Parade

On the evening of the 5th of January in many towns and villages throughout Spain we find the (Cabalgatas de los Reyes Magos), large parades where you can see the Three Kings, among other characters, on floats accompanied by music and dances. The kings toss sweets and candy to the crowds of children and announce that that night all the well-behaved children will receive gifts.

Children and adults alike try to catch as many sweets as they can. After the parade, the children should go to sleep early because if the Three Kings see that they are awake, they won’t leave any presents. But before going to bed, it’s important to prepare some drinks and sweet treats for the kings, who will be tired from their long journey when they arrive. It’s also a good idea to leave some water for the camels.

The 6th of January: Three Kings’Day

This day is usually spent with the family. Children wake up to discover the gifts that the Three Kings have brought and enjoy playing with their new toys. After lunch, the Roscón de Reyes is eaten. This is a type of dessert that comes with a golden paper crown (corona de papel dorado) and has a bean and a figurine of one of the Three Kings inside. The person who find the figurine is crown “the king of the house” and has to wear the paper crown, and the person who finds the bean has to pay for the roscón.

This is the last day of the Christmas vacation; the next day the normal daily routine begins again.

Are you familiar with this holiday?

Have you seen the Three Kings’ parade?

Who bring the gifts in your country?

I look forward to hearing your answers!!!

Do you like to learn about Spanish culture? Check your knowledge in Spanish culture with this QUIZ

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