Spaniards love their kings.
Today marks the arrival of Three Kings Day (TKD) in Spain, a holiday also known as the Epiphany in other parts of the world. TKD is a religious holiday in that it celebrates the day on which the three kings went to Bethlehem and offered gifts to baby Jesus.
Three Kings Day in Barcelona: The Story
If you aren’t familiar with the story, three kings/wise men heard that Jesus was born and they used a bright star in the sky to lead them to the manger. Upon arrival, they offered Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh — three really valuable commodities back in the — ancient — day.
Three Kings Day in Barcelona: The Traditions
Three Kings Presents
What does this mean for the average Spanish kid who is craving a pile of presents? Everything! TKD is the day on which children receive their presents.
Three Kings Cake
Three Kings Day is also the day on which families eat the roscón de reyes, a round cake topped with candied fruits and filled with a cream filling. Be careful, though! Amid the sugary goodness of the roscón lurks a tiny figurine — often a king, sometimes Jesus — which, when found by one of the hungry munchers, brings good luck.
|A Three Kings Day roscón cake on our countertop|
You can read more about the luck-bearing cake in one of our recent Barcelona blog posts about Spanish holiday foods.
Three Kings Parades
The night before TKD (always Jan. 5) is the night on which neighborhoods throughout Barcelona host their Three Kings parades, in which the trio of royalty don their regal garb and slowly make their way through barrio streets on floats replete with season-specific regalia and candy.
Most of the parades begin between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Each neighborhood’s TKD parade is different — some are more traditional while others are more extravagant.
We recommend checking out the TKD parade in Horta/El Carmel — it’s a sight to behold.
Our Barcelona blog has lots of great info about our city. For more information about Barcelona and to get Barcelona sightseeing tips, take a look at the Barcelona Experience website!