Celebrating The Epiphany In Spain

Three Kings’ Day in Spain

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Christine Medina is back with her experience with one of the millions of Kings Cakes that are eaten for Kings Day. Yum!

By Christine Medina

I am of the belief that Spanish children may be among some of the luckiest in the world. Why? Well, because not only do they get to celebrate Christmas day, they also celebrate the Epiphany on January 6th, also known as Three Kings’ Day.

The Three Kings refers to the gospel of Matthew when a group of Kings traveled from far lands bearing three gifts to baby Jesus after following a star. The three Kings are named Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar and represent Arabia, Africa and Europe. They traveled on horse, camel and elephant and brought with them gold, frankincense and myrrh to give to baby Jesus.

Roscón de Los Reyes

In Spain, children write their letters of what they’d like the Three Kings to bring them, and not to Santa in the North Pole. Depending on the family, Christmas day itself may or may not be a day for gifts, but for most families in Spain, Día de los Reyes Magos is always a day to exchange gifts.

The traditions on this day are for children (and some adults as well) to leave out their polished shoes on the eve of January 5th, as well as sweets and milk/wine for the Kings and their live modes of transportation. On the morning of January 6th, children wake up with excitement to a tree stocked with presents, and a Roscón de Los Reyes to eat for breakfast. The Roscón is a donut-shaped sweetbread, sprinkled with candied fruits. Inside of the Roscón is a figurine of baby Jesus as well as a dried fava bean. Whoever finds the figurine of baby Jesus is crowned “king” or “queen” of the house for the day, and the person who encounters the dried bean is obligated to buy next year’s Roscón.

This year, since the day is a holiday, I’m inviting over my fellow expatriate friends and celebrating Three Kings Day the best we know how: with a Roscón, plenty of food and wine and every intention to soak up this Spanish holiday that we’re deprived of back home.

Christine Medina, originally from Seattle, Washington, shares her travel advice, anecdotes and photographs at http://www.christineinspain.com/

Photo: Creative Commons License Flickr user susivinh

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