Spanish Christmas Tradition: Los Reyes Magos

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By Ragnar Heil

Today, 6h of January, Spain is celebrating the three Holy Kings (Balthasar, Melcheor and Caspar) which gave gifts to Baby Jesus. This day is celebrated all over the world in Christian cultures but the Spaniards know to celebrate it differently.

After Christmas children write a card (yes, real snail mail, there is no email, Twitter or Facebook-account) to the Kings which includes their wishes and desires. An alternative way of delivering the card is to bring it to the assisants of the Kings (Los Pajes). They are waiting on main street in town centre (la Rambla) on a huge stage, sitting on massive chairs.

In the night of the 5th of January there is an impressive procession in the streets of every town with many assistants and the Three Wise Men. As you can see on the photos, they are carried by tractors and sit on large royal chairs and wave to the masses and throw candies. Easily relations to carnival can be seen. Also Disney-figures can be observed which may occur in apocyrphal scriptures of the bible (\”The book of Walt\”).

The kings and their assistants wear royal dresses and have brown-painted faces (done with shoe polish?). The oriental kings are from the local town and are actually white, Caucasian style Spanish people. A successful integration of Maroccan and Arabian inhabitants would be if they would play the kings or assistants. Unfortunately \”Los Morros\” (which means \”Moors\”, a very negative wording about North African black people with a Mauretanian background) don`t play a part in this celebration. The center and core of the whole celebration are the Kings (which are no kings, just wise men (Magi) according to the bible) and of course the gifts which the kids open in the early morning of January 6th. All kids hope to get great presents and not sweets coal (Carbon).

Nobody talks about Jesus Christ (as a child or as the real king, Rex Judaeorum). Securalism has arrived in the roots of Spanish culture.

Typical Food for the celebration (eaten as a desert): Roscon de Reyes 

see also my article about \”El Caga Tio\” which is celebrated 24th of December (\”La Noche Buena\”)

2 thoughts on “Spanish Christmas Tradition: Los Reyes Magos”

  1. … und wir Langweiler haben sogar schon den Weihnachtsbaum vor die Tür gesetzt… Spanier wissen die Feste wenigstens richtig zu feiern. Christian hebt gleich ab vor Neid 🙂

  2. Da wird wirklich gefeiert, Mo! Wenn man den Umzug gesehen hat, rennt man ins naechsten Strassenviertel, um ihn nochmal zu sehen, Christian haette auch die Konfetti-Pumpgun gut gefallen!


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