Three Kings Cake

Three Kings Day

The holiday celebrates the visit of the Three Kings to worship and bring gifts to the new-born Jesus Christ. In Spain, it has traditionally be the most important day that culminates the ¨Christmas¨ holidays.

The Three Kings are celebrated pretty much like Christmas´ Santa Claus. Children write a letter to the Kings asking for their desired toys. Many cities set up locations where the kids can deposit their letter to the ¨Royal mailman¨.

On January 5th, cities organize la Cabalgata de Reyes.

Cabalgata in Spanish literally means a ride or a parade of horsemen. La Cabalgata of January 5th refers to the festive parade taking place in most Spanish towns to commemorate the arrival of the Three Kings. It is a popular family event worth attending as the Kings cross town on big chariots and throw candies to all children near-by, a festive parade across town with the Kings mounted on big chariots and throwing candies to all the kids around. This is a major event attended by most families. Some parades are very spectacular and shown on TV.

On the night of January 5th to 6th, the children clean their shoes and leave them out with a little snack for the Kings and their camels. During the night, the Kings bring them presents if they have been good during the year or a piece of coal..

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On January 6th, people eat el Róscon de Reyes:

Roscón de Reyes cake in Spain is a traditional round cake with a hole in the middle that is served the night before or morning of Three Kings Day called “Reyes” in Spanish or Epiphany (January 6), when the three wise men bring gifts to all the boys and girls. It is baked with several surprises inside the cake such as a porcelain figure. The one who finds the surprise is blessed with good luck and crowned the King or Queen of the banquet and gets to wear the crown. A bean is also baked inside the cake and the one who finds the been is expected to pay for the roscon. Traditionally dried or candied fruit is used to decorate the cake. In Spain you will find several variations of the cake and may choose from a cream filling, chocolate filling or plain. If you are not able to eat the whole thing in one go, the cake is very nice the next day when toasted as it is similar to a sweet bread, a sweet bread with a small surprise (Jesus or other figurine) in its dough. The person who ¨eats¨ the surprise becomes King for the day.

Depending on the calendar, January 7th often marks the day back to school. Because the children have had little time to enjoy their toys, many Spanish families have started also celebrating the December 25th holiday, splitting presents between the two days.

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