This blog post was originally posted on January 2, 2016, and was updated on December 14, 2017.
Christmas may be over for most of us, but with Three King’s Day in Seville still to come, the festive fun is just beginning!
Traditionally speaking, children don’t receive their Christmas gifts until January 6th (Day of the Epiphany). On this day, The Three Kings (Los Reyes Magos) travel all over the country delivering presents. Nowadays, more and more families in Spain are welcoming Santa Claus to their houses and starting to exchange gifts on Christmas Day. However, that doesn’t mean they’re forgetting about Three King’s Day (Día de Los Reyes Magos), and this day remains the traditional gift-giving day in Spain.
But how exactly do they mark this magical day? Celebrations vary throughout the country, but here’s how we celebrate Three King’s Day in Seville!
Spanish people love a good procession! The central part of the Three King’s celebration in Seville, and most other parts of Spain, is the huge parade that winds through the streets of the city on the 5th of January.
Los Reyes Magos announce their arrival by means of a six-hour long journey through Seville known as La Cabalgata de Los Reyes. This symbolizes the arrival of The Three Kings, Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar, to Jesus’ manger to present him with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Some cities, such as Barcelona, welcome their guests of honor by boat. However, here in Seville, Los Reyes Magos arrive on huge floats. They’re accompanied by smiling locals, armed with unending bags of sweets to throw into the crowd.
For many, this is the highlight of the Three King’s Day in Seville celebrations. Locals gather in huge numbers to see the parade and collect as many of the hard candies as possible. Be prepared to see people of all ages, scrambling through the crowd adding to their caramelo harvest.
While this lively celebration is certainly not for the faint-hearted, with dancers, musicians and all types of performers adding to the spectacle, seeing the Cabalgata de Los Reyes is something you can’t miss if you’re in Seville in January!
When all the excitement of the cabalgata has died down, families return home and prepare themselves for the arrival of The Three Kings. Children place a pair of shoes in an obvious spot in the house where the Kings can clearly see them.
Much like how the tradition for Santa Claus, people leave food and drink out for the Kings too. And in place of Rudolph’s carrot, some families leave milk and bread to help the camels complete their epic journey.
Kids finally settle down to a restless night’s sleep. When they just can’t bear the anticipation anymore, they rush to the spot where they left out their shoes the night before. There they find the neatly wrapped presents from the Kings waiting for them!
The 6th of January, Día de Los Reyes, would not be complete without the traditional breakfast of Roscón de Reyes. After unwrapping all the presents, the whole family gathers round to tuck into this circular cake. Generally, the roscón comes filled with delicious cream and decorated with brightly colored candied fruit. The candied fruit, or fruta escarchada, represents the jewels on the Wise Men’s clothing when they arrived to Bethlehem.
However, there’s much more to this tradition than just enjoying the taste of the delicious roscón. Carefully hidden inside are two figurines, a faba bean and a king. If you get the slice with the small king inside, you’re the king or queen of breakfast and will have good luck all year round.
Unfortunately, it’s not such great news for the person who finds the faba bean, as they pay for the roscón! These delicious treats are found in pastry shops all throughout the city and devouring your roscón with a nice cup of coffee is the perfect way to celebrate Three King’s Day in Seville.
In Seville in January? When you’ve calmed down from the excitement of The Three King’s Parade, why not join us on a food tour?
You’ll experience the magic of Seville with one of our expert guides who will lead you through the city. Also, you’ll try the traditional food and drink us locals love so much along the way. We hope to see you in Seville soon!
After studying in Andalusia, Jaimie made sure he was on the first possible flight back to Seville—the day after graduation! Many years later, he is fully immersed in Spain’s culinary world and has shown thousands of guests the secrets of sherry and tapas.