Felices Reyes! This is what we wish to each other on the 6th of January. One of the most important moments of Spanish celebration of the Christmas period is el dia de Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Day). This day is long-awaited by children, who write letters to Reyes Magos asking them to bring gifts. And they do bring gifts for good kids and coal for bad kids (but because Spaniards love their children very much they give them dyed black sugar instead).
In many places parades with the Three Kings are organised – Cabalgata de Reyes Magos, with actors dressed in historical costumes and candies being thrown to the kids. Parade of Madrid is a spectacular one. Initially we thought that the parade is held on 6th of January, but it is actually on the 5th, in the evening and the next day in the morning children find presents left by Reyes Magos. Gifts used to be brought by Reyes Magos only but because of strong influences from other cultures now gifts are also brought by Papá Noel (Santa Claus).
We tried to see a bit of the show but it was very difficult. Even though we arrived 15 minutes earlier it was already very crowded. Many parents brought ladders with them to put their children on them. Others turned into living ladders for their kids. We heard funny conversation like this ‘Where are they? I can’t wait!’ <daughter> ‘Believe me I can’t wait even more than you’ <daddy, holding his daughter on the back>.
Nevertheless we saw people dressed like penguins, vehicle called “the music of recycling” (a very cool idea, music instruments made from the garbage), one great size dolls moving her body parts, one dancer attached to flying balloons (she was actually in the air!). In the end we saw two of three kings. We didn’t get any candy though – we were staying on the wrong side of the road : (
Other custom connected with the Three King’s Day is connected with Roscón cake. We cheated a bit with that, because we ate it before. When our parents visited us in Madrid we wanted to show them how the cake looks like and tastes. A friend told us, that it contains a small figurine (in our cake it was a king) and a bean. Why? If you find a figurine in your piece of the cake you are the king of the evening (and you can put on your head the paper crown attached to the cake) if you find a bean, you need to pay for the cake! I don’t know how, but the figurine and the bean waited for the very last moment to show up. My dad became a king and I got the bean. We are still waiting for our gift from Reyes Magos. Even if they bring us a coal we are going to be happy, because we might heat our house with it when we come back Poland.