The 6th January marks the twelfth day of Christmas and is the day of Los Reyes Magos or the day of the Three Kings. This is a national holiday in Spain and represents the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the three kings carrying gold, frankincense and myrrh. In the same way that the Three Wise Men gave gifts for the baby Christ, here they share out presents amongst children on the eve of the 6th.
In fact, the celebration is more important for the children than any other during the holiday season but many elements are similar to other tradition. The children write a letter to the Kings promising their good behavior throughout the year and listing the gifts would like to receive. They leave something tasty for the Kings and their mode of transport, the camels, to eat before going to bed on the 5th. During the night, the Kings come to leave the presents which are traditionally placed in or beside where the children leave their shoes. The little ones awake the next morning to find if they have been naughty or nice! According to the tradition those who have misbehaved receive a lump of coal!
On the day of Los Reyes, many families share a typical sweet bread called roscón (a sugar-frosted fruit-filled bread made in a circular shape). Hidden inside is a novelty such a small toy. Whoever cuts the piece with the present inside tradition will be protected by the Kings for and have good fortune for the coming year. Leading up to this day you will see this delicacy in supermarkets and bakeries displayed in the windows. It is an interesting time to be in Barcelona with kids as you will see various processions- each neighbourhood with their own version- where the Kings share out sweets with the onlookers. Adults too can receive gifts on this day, and why not?! It is the twelfth day of Christmas and is the final ending to the holiday period.
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