This blog article was originally posted ~ above December 28, 2012 and was update onNovember 20, 2020.

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In Spain, Santa Claus isn’t the star the the display when the vacation season rolls around.

Instead, it’s the three Wise Men—or los reyes magos—who take center stage during the winter holidays. They’re the people who carry Spanish youngsters their presents the night prior to Three kings Day in January.

While part Spanish households have also taken on the Santa legacy in recent years, it’s los reyes magos who space the many important. Check out on come learn an ext about this lovely Spanish vacation tradition!

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Who space “los reyes magos”?

According to Christian tradition, three wise men involved visit the newborn infant Jesus quickly after his birth. Your names were Melchior, Caspar, and also Balthazar, and they come with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The 3 Wise Men have actually been honored in assorted European countries due to the fact that the middle Ages. Once the legacy of Santa Claus bringing presents to children on Christmas Day became popular in some nations centuries ago, Spain complied with suit, yet used los reyes magos as the gift-bringers instead.

In recent years, part Spanish households have started to adopt the Santa legacy as well. As a result, some youngsters get presents on both December 25 and also January 6. However, Three kings Day is easily the much more important that the two, and the day once just about everyone in Spain will certainly be in the gift-giving spirit.

Celebrating Three emperors Day in Spain today

January 5: The Three kings Day parade

Festivities officially start the day before the really feast work of los reyes magos. Top top January 5, parades take place throughout the country to memory the come of the kings. Spanish families line the roadways of your hometown to get a glimpse the thecabalgata de los reyes magos, or Three monarchs Day parade.

These parades room truly a vision to behold! together with dancers, musicians, and also puppeteers, the monarchs ride ~ above camels or fancy floats. They throw goodies, typically candy or sweets, down to the children. Part adults also get in on the fun and will host upside-down umbrellas to catch as lot candy as possible!


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Los Reyes Magos lug holiday cheer to all of Spain! picture credit: Universidad de Navarra

January 6: The come of los reyes magos

Los reyes magos traditionally bring gifts because that Spanish kids during the night top top January 5. Lot like the traditional milk and also cookies because that Santa Claus and also his reindeer, Spanish children often set out plates of food or sweets forlos reyes magos.The kings’ camels additionally receivedried grass or hay from the traditionalists, or milk and bread if those aren’t handy!

When kids throughout Spain wake up top top the morning that the 6th, they discover gifts indigenous the Three majesties ready to open. (But just if they’ve to be good—just choose Santa Claus, los reyes magos carry coal for those ~ above the mischievous list!)

Traditional food for Three majesties Day in Spain

Throughout the holiday season, Spanish family members enjoy multiple feasts that last because that hours. Three monarchs Day is no different. After opening the presents from los reyes magos, it’s time come enjoy an intricate lunch made up of many courses and also plenty that post-meal chatter, known as sobremesa.

A usual Three monarchs Day having lunch in Spain will likely start v some appetizers such together cheese and also cured meats. The main course have the right to vary relying on where you space in the country, however expect other hearty and also filling, normally meat or seafood based. Just be certain to conserve room for dessert: the almighty roscón.

See more: What Is Meant By The Term Bread Basket Mean? Bread Basket

Roscón de Reyes: the Three queens Day cake

The crown jewel that the los reyes magos celebration is specifically that: a crown-shaped dessert decorated with candy “jewels.” This is the roscón de reyes, a sweet bread-like cake often filled with cream and topped through dried fruits.

The roscón de reyes is notoriously complicated to do at home and takes a lengthy time. As a result, most civilization outsource theirs come the experts. Starting in the fall, bakeries throughout Spain see hundreds of orders because that roscones native locals passionate to reserve your in time.

As for as soon as to eat the roscón, that relies on who you ask. Some family members dig into theirs as quickly as they gain home native the Three majesties Day parade ~ above January 5. Others have actually it for breakfast ~ above the morning the the 6th, and also still others organize off until afternoon on Three kings Day to have it for merienda, or the midday snack roughly 6 p.m.

Roscones have the right to come in several different varieties, every one of them delicious. Some room plain and come without any type of filling. Others contain new whipped cream, chocolate truffle cream, or also candied spaghetti squash (it’s far better than that sounds!).

In addition, you’ll find two plastic-wrapped figurines inside the roscón: a dried favabean and also a smallking-shaped figurine.

Whoever gets the slice of the cake through the tiny king is the “king” or “queen” the the banquet. Together a result, this personwill have an excellent luck because that the remainder of the year. Plenty of roscones come through a record or cardboard crown because that this human to wear.On the various other hand, whoever find the fava bean has to pay because that theroscón the following year!

If you occur to it is in in the Spanish capital approximately Three majesties Day, check out wherein to shot the roscón de reyes in Madrid. Many bakeries and pastry shops will sell it, yet these spots room the best of the best!


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A delicious slice of roscón de reyes filled v sweetened whipped cream.

READ MORE: Behind the Bite: Roscón de Reyes

Even if friend can’t do it come Spain this year come celebrate los reyes magos, we here at Devour Tours great you every a wonderful holiday season!

Bring the spices of Spain right into your home with our brand-new digital cookbook, Spanish Feasts native the Devour tours Kitchen. (It provides a good gift, too!)