Fiesta de los Reyes
Religious and Traditional Festival in San Sebastián
Fiesta de los Reyes or Three Kings Festival is two day annual event held on the 5th and 6th of January to celebrate the Three Kings or Wise Men who followed the a star to the birthplace of Jesus Christ and brought gifts to him: gold, incense and myrrh.
Each city and town hosts its own parade on the eve of Three Kings’ Day, called the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings into Spain from their long journey. The Kings Melchior (Arabia), Caspar (the Orient) and Balthazar (Africa) march down the main street of the city, either on their camels or on elaborate floats. In some coastal cities, like Palma and Barcelona, they arrive by boat and then continue on to the parade. In others, they’ve arrived by helicopter. The Three Kings come bearing gifts for all the children and parade throughout the local city, throwing sweets into the crowd.
The children leave a letter they have written out to the Wise Men to ask for what they would like to receive and then they leave shoes on windowsills or under the Christmas tree to be filled with their gifts. That night the children leave three glasses of warm milk and sweets for each of the kings, plus some hay or grass for their hungry camels, so that they can rest for a while before continuing their travels.
The next morning, the previously empty shoe is hopefully filled with and surrounded by gifts, although naughty children may be left a lump of coal.
On the 6th, after the gift opening, traditionally people have breakfast with the Roscón de Reyes, a delicious round cake decorated with candied fruit, a symbol of the gems which adorned the Wise Men clothes. But careful, the cake contains two plastic wrapped figurines, a small king and a broad bean: if you find the king in your piece of cake you will have good luck for the rest of the year, if you find the bean you have to pay the cake!