The Three Kings Parade in Barcelona
The night of the Three Kings Parade, on 5 January, is the most magical night of the year, and these three characters are definitely to ‘blame’.
The Three Kings are enthusiastically welcomed by children and adults every 5 January, just a few hours before they visit our homes bringing gifts for everyone who has been good during the rest of the year. The afternoon of the 5th of January, the Three Kings, with the amazing entourage, will most probably reach the city by sea, docking at the Barcelona Port and then they will parade around the city, giving sweets to the crowds as a prelude to this unique night. The Three King’s floats, magnificently decorated, reflect all of the excitement and magic of this special tradition. Weeks beforehand, boys and girls have sent their letter to the Three Kings, asking for their gifts and at last they will see them in real life.
Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar are the Three Kings from the East who, on 5 January every year, go from house to house to bring presents to all the children. Traditionally the presents are opened on 6 January, known as Kings’ Day, in the morning.
These three characters are inspired by the magi or wise men who took presents to the infant Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament. Over time the image and the legend of the Three Kings has gradually taken shape. Melchior, from Europe, is the White King, Caspar, from Asia, is the Blond King, and Balthazar, from Africa, is the Black King.
Kings’ Day, on 6 January, is when the presents delivered by the Three Kings during the previous night are opened. It is a magic day for children, who spend it playing with the presents Their Majesties from the East have brought, although some children can get a big surprise and find coal next to their shoes.
It is usual to eat as a family on Kings’ Day and share the Kings’ Ring Cake, a typical cake for this day which includes two surprises, a dry bean and a small figure of a king. The person who finds the bean has to pay for the cake and the person who finds the figure is crowned king.
The day before the Three Kings Parade, you can go and see the coaches the Kings will be riding in. They will be on view at the Royal Workshops, the Palau Alfons XIII at the trade fair site, Fira de Barcelona.
It’s a chance for children to get up close to the coaches and the preparations for the parade. Their Majesties’ pages will also be dropping by to make sure everything is set for Kings’ Day Eve (5 January).
Once again the “Fira dels Reis”, the Three Kings or Twelfth Night Fair, returns to Gran Via to help Their Majesties with preparing the presents for the January 6 festivities. You’ll find a thousand and one gift ideas at this Christmas market, which boasts 160 stalls.
Set on Gran Via, between C/ Muntaner and C/ Calàbria, the fair has several toy stalls and others that offer a whole host of gift items, ranging from jewellery and silver, to ceramics, soaps, scarves, hats, items of clothing, lamps and decorations.
There will also be plenty of stalls selling churros at the fair, which is on from 20 December to 6 January, which you can munch at as you stroll along and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.
All information on the Barcelona Christmas official webpage.
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