The Spanish really know how to draw out a holiday.
First, it was Christmas then New Years and finally this week, the Epiphany or ”Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages” which in English means “The festival of the three Magic Kings”. Which means that it’s felt like the Christmas holiday has gone on for way longer than we are used to in the UK.
Reyes is celebrated on 6th January and celebrates when the Kings or Wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Traditionally this is the day that Spanish children receive their gifts rather than on Christmas Day. Although, I’m reliably informed by my younger students that they are allowed to have some presents on Christmas Day too. Just as well. Can you imagine if kids in the UK had to wait two weeks after breaking up from school to get their presents and then go back to school the day after getting them?!
As ever with these things, we were keen to witness what Reyes in Valencia entailed and headed into the city last night to catch the action. We pitched up in time to see the finale of the parade in front of the town hall in the main Plaza de Ayntamento. It was a spectacular affair which had started at the port about two hours earlier and moved slowly through the city under police escort, surrounded by an army of kids. Finally, the kings entered the Plaza in full convoy with guards, dancers, torches, chests of presents, all solemnly carried by King’s servants.
Despite the fact that we had been told how much bigger Reyes is in Valencia then Christmas, we were still surprised by the party atmosphere and buzz in the city. We had a great night AND we get to have ‘Christmas Day’ for the second time today.