Reyes in Spain ♛

Before Santa came traipsing through chimneys and windows, children in Spain had their gifts delivered by the Three Wise Men, or Los Reyes Magos. D-Man says that when he was little, he was convinced he caught a shadowy glimpse of Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar tiptoeing past his room to place their gifts near his family’s Belén in the middle of the night.

So on Reyes Day, for the sake of tradition, D-Man and I took part in the festivities by going to the Cabalgata (the Kings’ parade) and getting smacked in the face with hard candy, soccer balls, and caramelized popcorn by all Three Kings.


Then we went on a Reyes Eve gift-hunt.

And indulged in a traditional Roscón de Reyes, a cream cake with a hidden bean and a Jesus figurine. Whoever bites into the piece with the bean (me) ends up having to bake next year’s roscón, and whomever gets the figurine is crowned king or queen for the day with a paper gold crown. Silly, but delicious and oh-so-much fun!

What crazy family traditions do you partake in?


14 thoughts on “Reyes in Spain ♛

  1. There´s nothing like getting hit in the eye by a hard sweet! So glad you celebrated all the traditions – that´s the great think about mixing cultures – so many parties and fiestas!

    • Sooooo many!! I have an academic calendar on my desktop – I love looking forward to my days off and the never-ending Spanish fiestas!

      As for the Cabalgata, NOW I know why my Belgian friend told me to make sure to bring an umbrella of sorts. :)

    • Oh, your tradition sounds so cozy! What is the story behind the shoes? I’m curious, and I love a good story.

      Gingerbread cookies are my favorite. :)

  2. The *culture* of Christmas isn’t very big here in SA, even though it’s a predominantly Christian country. Most people have fake/plastic Christmas trees and presents stuck underneath them but there aren’t any other ingrained traditions. For most, it’s a time for family and food (bbq of some sort) and most of the day is spent by the pool.

    • Ooooh, Christmas by the poolside, with a delicious BBQ included. Now there’s an idea! :) I think Australia might have a similar Christmas custom.

      My sister-in-law’s mother started a lot of her family’s own traditions – like the gift-hunt D-Man and I attended. She’s always inventing funny games and such for the most traditional events. You should have your family place the most waterproof gifts at the bottom of the pool and have the receivers dive in for them, heheheh. ;)

  3. i like the roscon de reyes, although eating it, I imagine I’d be too preoccupied with where the bean is to enjoy it….!
    I grew up celebrating xmas the german way thanks to mom, singing xmas carols together, and celebrating and opening presents always on xmas eve, not xmas day.

    in northern italy, Ill never forget santa lucia, which was earlier in december – and seemed the big celebration. can’t remember the specifics, but my kid students would hang something out their balcony (not stockings, but something similar) so I guess she brought them something….

    • Heheh, I wasn’t told about the bean until I had bitten into it!! everyone had a good laugh, and then I found out that I would have to bake next year’s (or buy it, but it’d be nice to try baking one).

      My family also celebrated by opening gifts on Christmas Eve, right at midnight. The anticipation as a child would nearly drive me crazy, but my parents were kind enough to let my sister and I pick and open one present before midnight. The bubbling excitement and anticipation of us kids at Christmas was almost tangible! Did you sing German Christmas carols with your mom? :)

      Santa Lucia – I’ve never heard of it! But I love how there are different characters and important religious/historical figures that deliver gifts to children in countries across the world. It makes you wonder how it all got started!

    • I can see that! But I think it’s a very rustic and Spanish look, heheh. Dark, varnished wood is very typical of older furnishings here in Spain. :)

    • Hmmm, not that I know of… Here we celebrate All Saints’ Day instead of Día de los Muertos (but it’s similar), and there are usually pastries involved in any important holiday or festival here, so you might be on the money. It might be a smaller version of the roscón, but without any of the custard.

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