Every January the 6th, we celebrate the Day of the Three Magic Kings in Spain
It is a Catholic tradition that has been recorded since the s. III, although with different interpretations. The celebration of the Epiphany is a family day in which the little ones – and not so little ones – receive gifts if they have behaved well. It was not until the s. XIX when the tradition of giving to children began, especially among Hispanic countries.
Do you want to know more about this tradition? We will tell you below.
The story of the three Magic Kings
Despite the numerous interpretations in this regard, tradition tells that three kings from the East left for Bethlehem in search of the Child Jesus. Melchior, Gaspar and Baltasar, the three Wise Men, followed a star that guided them to the manger in Bethlehem where Jesus Christ had been born. These three Kings brought presents for the Child God as a show of respect and adoration:
From this legend the tradition of giving gifts to children was formed. Although it is not only given to the little ones! All members of the family usually receive gifts on this day.
The Three Kings Day is one of the most deeply rooted traditions in our country, and one of the most beautiful and endearing. To celebrate this day, a series of “rites” are carried out that we list below.
Letter to the Three Magic Kings
It all starts a few weeks before January 6. Children should make a list of the gifts they most want to receive. This list is shown in a letter to the Magic Kings, in which each child explains how they have behaved during the year and then describes the gifts they want to ask for. These letters are usually left at the Post Office, in a special mailbox, or are delivered directly to the Kings a few days before in their hearings (they usually take place in the Town Halls of each locality).
Preparation at home
During the afternoon / evening of January 5, children should leave some of their shoes under the Christmas tree. Thus, the Kings will know where to leave each gift. As the Kings have a very hard work night ahead of them, they will also be left with some food and drink to ‘recharge their batteries’:
- The Kings will be left with sweets and a glass of milk each (although they will also be left with a glass of anise)
- And the camels will be left with a bowl of water, they also deserve to recharge!
Also during the afternoon / evening of January 5, the Three Magic Kings go out on parade through the cities and towns, to amuse the children before the expected distribution of gifts. These parades fill the cold cities with color and joy in January, and in many of them trinkets and gifts are also distributed.
This year, the parade will be different (due to the pandemic). The route will be longer (almost 8 km) and will take place outside the city center. These changes have been made in order to avoid the crowd. And it will also be broadcast on TV!
Gifts and (sweet) charcoal
After preparing everything and watching the parade, the children will go to sleep, eager for the morning of January 6 to arrive. In the morning the Three Magic Kings will have already managed to distribute all the gifts thanks to their magic and the party will begin for them. If the children have been ‘good’, they will have received the gift they expected. And if they have misbehaved, their punishment will be to receive coal. Although it is a special, sweet charcoal, simply to attract the attention of the little ones.
Roscón de Reyes
And to celebrate this day, of course, there is a typical dessert: the Roscón de Reyes. It is usually taken during breakfast on January 6 and during the previous days. Do you want to know what it is made of? Well, don’t miss the recipe by clicking here.
We hope this article helps you to get an idea of how it is celebrated in Spain. How do you celebrate it in your countries? Let us know!
All the iNMSOL staff wish you a great Kings’ Day… if you have had a good behaviour!