The Three Kings Day or Día de los Reyes(in Spanish), is celebrated on 6 January every year in Spain and other Spanish-speaking-countries. The country's strong Catholicism celebrates the arrival of distinguished foreigners traveling from the Orient to the birthplace of Jesus following the Star of Bethlehem, according to the book of Matthew in the Bible.
The Story The Kings' names are Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar. Even though in the scriptures it is not said the exact number of the Kings, it is assumed they are 3 because of the 3 gifts they bring. Melchor offered Gold, Gaspar - Frankincense and Baltazar - Myrrh. Gold was valuable, symbolising virtue and kingship on Earth. Frankincense was a symbol of deity and prayer, and was used as a perfume. Myrrh was commonly used as an anointing oil, a symbol of the vulnerability of Jesus.
The Real Gift day This is the day the children in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries receive their Christmas presents. Christmas Day is not as popular and celebrated as this one. On Christmas Day the children receive small gift or two. Christmas Eve is time for the family to gather together and is called Nochebuena, or “Good night“. My Christmas Experience was really nice thanks to my friend Rocío and her family. They invited me for this holiday and I felt almost as if I was with my family. However the big day for presents is today, 6 January, the Epiphany.
Three Kings Day Eve On the eve of January 5 there is a day for parades and processions all around Spain. The children write letters to the three Kings hoping they will receive the desired gifts. I also wrote mine and I expect them to come true. The parades represent the journey of the Magi on the their camels on the road to Bethlehem. I was with my friend Dayana to witness this festive time on one of the main streets in Málaga.
The parade is celebrated with the Kings throwing candies in the crowd of people and many children. There are dancers, musicians and artists following the festivity. Everybody, including us, is excited to see the Kings and to bring home some caramelos. That was my first time “meeting con los Reyes Magos“.
The streets of Málaga were full with children and excited parents. With my friend Dayana we mixed in the crowd of joyous people and our inner children were happy as we also got a few candies!
The Cake of the Kings A very important part of this tradition is the Roscon de Reyes, or the King's cake. It is a ring-shaped pastry made to look like a crown that a king would wear. It is declared with fruits and In it is oftenly hidden a small toy. The person who finds it will have a good luck all year long. It reminds me of the Bulgarian “kozunak“ that we eat around Easter. It is very delicious.
How Bulgarians celebrate this day In the Eastern Orthodox Church, 6 January is the day that celebrates the baptization of Jesus in the Jordan River. It is commemorated with swimming competitions where people dive in the water to retrieve the cross, that is the symbol of Jesus baptization. Maybe one day I will jump in the water to get the cross and respect the Bulgarian Tradition.