This year Día de Reyes, also known as Three Kings, is being celebrated on Saturday 6th of January. Children are looking forward to this celebration all year; it’s even bigger than Christmas! There are many activities around this festive day: a parade, huge sales and a lot of sweet food.
What is this celebration about? On the 6th of January three wise man saw a star rising on the horizon. By following this star they found the king of the Jews. The wise men, Casper, Balthazar and Melchior became Kings later on in the story. When they arrived in Bethlehem they found baby Jesus. According to the three kings this baby should be the kind of the Jews and three present were handed over: gold, myrrh and incense. In the biblical stories wise men travel on camels. In the parades held on, the day before, the 5th of January you can there find a lot of them!
How do people celebrate Día de Reyes?
In Valencia children create a wish list with presents they would like to get. When they were nice during the year they will find the presents under the Christmas tree. If they were naughty during the year it might be possible that ‘carbon’ (coals) can be found under the tree (but made of sugar). This wishlist with presents is already written in december and the three wise man go back home to the east to collect the presents and afterwards they will come back.
The traditional sweet food during Reyes is called ‘Roscón de Reyes’. It’s a cake filled with cream and dried fruit on top. Inside the cake one can find a figure and a bean: if you find the figure in the cake you will be crowned king. If you find the bean in the cake you will have to pay for next year’s Roscon. A golden crown is the gift that children receive who found the figure in the cake and that become king. Often this ritual is being held in the morning, a long with the breakfast. Afterwards presents are being unpacked!
5th of January – the parade
On the 5th of January there is a big parade in the city centre of Valencia. The three wise men ride their camels or horses, and a lot of trucks from where candy is being thrown to the public. This parade is mainly for children but is enjoyed by adults a lot too. After the parades children will put food (carrots) and drinks (water) under the Christmas tree for the camels and some sweets and milk for the three kings.
Route: Paseo de la Alameda – Calle de la Paz – Plaza de la Reina – Calle San Vicente -Plaza Ayuntamiento
Date: 5th of January
Time: 18.00 hour the parade will start, at 17.00 hour the wise men will arrive in the harbour of Valencia.
On the 7th of January, the last day of annual Spanish Christmas holidays, the winter sales will start. In Spanish, this sale is called the rebajas. During the rebajas many stores offer spectacular prices. Start early since this day will be very busy!