BIGGER than Christmas for Spanish children, Three Kings Day on January 6 is when the serious presents are given out.
On January 5, there are float processions through most towns, when the merry monarchs hurl boiled sweets into the crowded streets. Wear sunglasses, as a fruit drop in the eye can be painful!
Children will have written to Santa on our Boxing Day to ask for this year’s must-have toys. On Three Kings Eve, they often leave shoes under the Christmas tree or on the terrace to be filled with presents.
Satsumas, walnuts and a small glass of cognac (rather than milk) are traditionally left out to help Santa on his merry (hic) way.
Naughty children might receive coal but the Three Kings are push-overs and the lumps of coal are sweets in disguise.
Traditional sweetmeats decorate the family table, such as the Roscon de Reyes, a cake with a hole in it, like a doughnut. Hidden in the dough, among the figs, cherries and candied peel, is a surprise trinket.The lucky recipient is blessed for the year ahead, but there’s a catch. It’s their turn to buy the cake next year!
Then comes January 7, the day that for many nationalities is better than Christmas, Nochevieja and Three Kings rolled into one. It’s the start of the January sales…
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