Friday 16 February 2024

Celebrating King's Night

The most magical night for everyone in Spain, especially children, is January 5th, King's night, when the three Wise Men or King's visit homes and leave presents for everyone.

Part of the tradition is that on the evening of the 5th, children leave a cleaned pair of shoes outside their doors for the Kings to fill with gifts. Just like with Santa, children write letters to the kings and are encouraged to leave snacks for their exhausted camels before going to bed.

In villages, towns and cities across Spain, the celebrations start early in the day with the arrival of the kings, who arrive on a wide variety of means, from donkey to helicopter. Children will be gathered waiting for their arrival so that they can deliver their letters.

Later in the day, usually early evening, King's night is celebrated with very grand parades, featuring an array of floats and people dressed in costumes, distributing sweets and presents during the parade.

The celebrations in Santa Cruz started around midday, with a helicopter flying over the city announcing the arrival of the three kings in one of the city's large parks. The city was eerily quiet as I guess most people were off to see the Kings. 

Just before sunset we headed off to the city centre to find somewhere to watch the parade. The streets were filled with children, parents and grandparents, balconies were full of families and friends, all excitedly waiting for the parade to pass.  The atmosphere was electric and you could sense the anticipation of people waiting to catch sight of the spectacular floats, costumes and Los Reyes.

It didn't disappoint, the parade was spectacular, with something for everyone.  There were floats with Disney princesses and characters, dancing displays and other various characters and surprisingly, the parade started on time!


Once the parade had passed, we headed to our favourite area to have something to eat.  Hmm, no such luck, all the restaurants were booked. We did eventually find somewhere and it was pleasant enough, but it made us realise that we would needto book well ahead for the carnival.

The next day, January 6th is the day when families come together exchange gifts, followed by an abundance of eating and drinking 

Not homemade! 
The most traditional food is the iconic Roscón de Reyes cake, a sweet, brioche like cake, filled with cream and decorated with candied fruits. The cake is part of Spanish tradition as hidden inside are a tiny figurine and a favourite bean.  Tradition says that if you find the figurine, you are king or queen for the day, but if you find the bean, you pay for the cake the following year.

In previous years we have celebrated with friends in Estepona,  but this year it was a quiet affair with just Mark and I. After a morning walk, we enjoyed a traditional Christmas dinner with roast turkey and all the trimmings, followed by the Roscón de Reyes cake. 

Interestingly, even though I had the figurine in my piece of cake, I still did the washing up!

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