The Three Kings are here!

Christmas in Spain is serious business… or at least it’s a long one. It all starts on Christmas Eve, and it goes on, family meal after family meal, through Christmas, New Year’s Eve (sometimes also on New Year’s Day) until the very last day of the holidays, that’s when most children get their presents: on the 6th of January, the Three Kings’ Day.

Caga Tió Valerie Hinojosa
Catalan Tiós [picture by Valerie Hinojosa on Flickr]
Santa Claus visits some homes (ours, for instance!), and there are some other local magic beings such as the Tió in Catalonia and the Olentzero in the Basque Country or the Apalpador in some areas of Galicia (here’s a link where you can find more information about these Curious Christmas Characters), but the most beloved presents-bearers all over the country are the Reyes Magos without any doubt.

Olentzero Francisco Martins
Basque Olentzero [picture by Francisco Martins on Flickr]
So, how do these Kings work? Traditions vary in every household: some children will leave out their (clean!) shoes in the living room, some other will have some milk for the Kings and straw for the camels… what happens for sure is that the Three Kings will visit during the night and leave their presents. The 6th of January is a holiday, so on that morning the streets and parks will be full of children playing with their new drone or riding their new bicycle.

Spain Christmas Roscón
Roscón de Reyes, the Kings’ cake

What about the food?

On the Three Kings’ Day the main role goes to the Roscón de Reyes, a big donut-shaped cake, made of sweet dough and candied fruit, which is eaten at breakfast with hot chocolate. It has a hidden surprise inside, which goes to the one that bites into it. Sometimes it also has a dried fava bean, who gets that is supposed to pay for the cake! You can read more on The Kings Cake on Hola Foodie.

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