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January 5th will witness spectacular parades, known as Cabalgatas de los Reyes Magos, in every city, town and village in Spain as sweets and presents are distributed to all as part of the celebrations of Dia de los Reyes. Santa Claus´ work is over, now it is the turn of the Kings.

Where and why ´Kings´ is celebrated

The celebration is based on the New Testament story of the three Kings, or wise men, Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior who travelled from afar to bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. In 1885, the Spanish government officially made the 6th January a national holiday with the parades the night before. It is now the longest standing parade in Spain.

Santa Cruz Suites in the future

If you’re staying at CLC Club La Costa World, you will be spoilt for choice as to which parade to attend. Malaga’s parade is the largest in the local area, while nearby Fuengirola boasts an equally impressive display or why not pop along the coast road to Marbella?

For those staying at CLC Paradise on Tenerife, you can witness the Kings arriving by helicopter (they’ve definitely caught up with the times there!), followed by the traditional parade.

Cabalgata candies

As Santa delivers gifts on Christmas Eve so the Kings arrive on the eve of Epìphany for their present distribution. It is a raucous, good-natured event as the streets throng with people lining the route as music blares and the Kings – either on horseback or riding in comfort on elaborate floats – pass through the thoroughfares, throwing sweets into the crowds. Children dive amongst the many feet scooping candies into their pockets and bags, occasionally taking a moment to pop one in their mouth.

Celebrating with bread and crowns

As Kings wear crowns it follows that the bejewelled headwear will make an appearance during the celebrations. The Rosca de Reyes (Kings´ Bread) is a circular sweet bread, often decorated with candied fruits representing the precious gems that bedecked the trio’s garments, and is enjoyed either for breakfast or as dessert following a delicious dinner. Children may also make their own crowns which they don at the dinner table.

Shoes at the door

Children leave their shoes outside their door so the Kings can deposit gifts inside them (one time when having big feet is a bonus!). Of course, really large presents are left around the shoes.

Sweets for Kings and hay for camels

The Kings are partial to the odd sweet too and later that evening, just as cookies and milk are left for Santa Claus, children will leave goodies for the Kings and hay for their camels to eat. Camels can be messy eaters and often there is a trail of hay leading to…

Wherever you are in Spain on 5th and 6th January, have a wonderful Dia de los Reyes!