Los Reyes Magos and their Cabalgata
I was previously telling you about the Christmas traditions. I will jump for just a bit over the New Year (I’ll be back to it, don’t worry) and get to 5th of January: the day of Reyes Magos, or the day of the Three Wise Kings.
Image source: Guia Infantil
Spanish people don’t celebrate that much the Christmas as I was saying, but they do celebrate this event of when the three wise kings brought gifts to baby Jesus. Celebrating is little said though. They organise big parades for this occasion. Let’s get a bit deeper into this celebration.
image source: National Geographic
5th January – La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos
This is the day of the trip of the 3 kings. The parade happens in the evening and crosses through the entire town. Groups of people imitating the actions of the kings following the guiding star flood the city with music, dances and a bit of artistic touch. It is called Cabalgata for its original version of riding horses as a “mean of transportation” as the camels are not quite a particular “asset” of Spain.
Sculpture of a church altar
Image source: El correo de Andalucia
Now I told you Spanish people have a thing for the costumes and carnival-alike events so even if they pretty much picture the same scene, the costumes vary. If there is music and costumes, you bet Spanish people are present! The streets are full of people and if you haven’t secured a good spot in the front row, you might try to find a different one as all the chariots go all around the town and you won’t miss any of it. The whole parade takes some hours so no need to worry about that.
image source: Agenda menuda
The show is not only for the children I dare to say, although many of its activities throughout the day are mainly destined for them. I was rather surprised to see hundreds of adults and seniors following the parade, even if, pardon me, it happens the same every year. But it’s music and dancing and meeting people!
Image sources: Murcia.com (1), Te interesa (2), YouTube (3)
The funny thing is, for getting a seat on the main street, you’d need to pay for it in advance. You’d pretty much have to start reserving your seat for the next year in advance if you don’t want to miss it! Lucky you if you live on its way as from the balconies the image is much wider and you don’t need to get into the crowd for seeing something. But you’d pretty much miss the candies the groups through to the people for the children. Compromises…
6th January – El dia de los Reyes Magos
After having done the journey on the previous day, the kings arrive to baby Jesus with the gifts. It’s time for the presents for the young and elder children, same as Santa Clause brings for the Christians celebrating it on 25th December. For those that have misbehaved, the kings leave a piece of coal so to know the next year they’d need to behave better.
A typical tradition for this day is sharing roscón, a sweet type of baked pastry. It has the shape of a ring bun and it’s decorated with candied fruits. As it is eaten only in this day we can easily compare it to the star that guided the kings on their path. It is typical to be eaten in the mornings so whoever finds the hidden gift becomes the king of the day, but whoever finds the grain would have to pay for the pastry.
Image source: El cocinero casero
This celebration is one of the most important ones here, especially for the children, for which this moment is full of hopes, dreams and fairy tales. It wouldn’t hurt us either being kids every now and then and start believing more in the good, would it?