El Día de Los Reyes: A day full of magic
El Día de Los Reyes: What is it?
El Día de Los Reyes, known as Three Kings’ Day in English, is a vibrant and unique celebration in Spain and many Latin American countries and communities around the world. It takes place on January 6th and is of even greater importance than Christmas Day!
This holiday commemorates the arrival of the Three Wise Men, or Magi, who traveled bearing gifts for Jesus. The Three Kings are said to come from different regions—Melchior from Persia, Gaspar from India, and Balthazar from Arabia and leave gifts and sweets for the children on this special day. It is said that they are even more popular than Santa Claus, that’s hard to believe, right?
How is Three Kings day celebrated in Spain?
Like most events, this day is celebrated with major parades in most Spanish cities and it is especially magical for children – who often roar in excitement, ready to catch the sweets thrown from the massive floats that enter the city. If this is your first time celebrating a parade on el Día de Los Reyes then be prepared for this sweet throwing! They can come at all angles and even end in injury (Don’t worry, we’re just joking).
Right after the parades, most families head home for an early night to receive presents from the Three Kings. Before going to sleep, children put some milk and biscuits next to the Christmas tree for the Three Kings and leave some water for their camels. They also leave out their best pair of shoes to be filled with presents, sometimes filled with grass or hay. A strange but sweet tradition that honors the camels of the three kings.
On the next day, 6th January, children wake up to see how many presents they have received. If they have been good, they will find a lot of good presents but if they have been naughty they will find coal. These days, the coal is actually made of sugar!
The main culinary event: The Roscón de Reyes
A sweet and sugary delight is associated with this celebration and its the Roscón de Reyes, a sweet, ring-shaped bread decorated with candied fruits and sometimes filled with cream or other sweet fillings. However, there is much more to this bread then you may think!
There are various things a person might find whilst eating a slice of the Roscón. Hidden inside is a small figure of a baby Jesus, as well as a dried bean. The person who finds the king is said to have luck for the coming year but the person who finds the dried bean has the responsibility of making or buying the Roscón for the following year. We can definitely agree on something – You receive more than you expect with this sweet bread!
How can I celebrate this day in Valencia?
To start the festivities, the three kings will arrive by boat at La Marina around 4:30pm on January the 5th. Soon afterwards at around 5:30pm they will begin a route from Paseo de la Alameda to the Town Hall Square.
The kings will pass through the most important spots in Valencia such as the Puerta del Mar, Calle de la Paz, and San Vicente. In front of the Town Hall balcony, a nativity scene will await and the Kings will have a public reception with the children who come to deliver their letters or see their majesties.