la cabalgata de los reyes magos


I’m sorry for the lack of substance in my posts as of lately.  Between exams, birthday celebrations and starting new classes today, I haven’t quite had the time to sit down and write.  However, Jackie did a fabulous job of describing the Three Kings Parade that we went to in the beginning of January, so for now… here you are!

While in the United States and other parts of the world Santa Claus brings the children their gifts on Christmas, in Spain Los Reyes Magos or The Three Kings do instead. The kids write to the three kings, and on the morning of The Epiphany January 6th the gifts arrive. People still celebrate Christmas, but more as just a day with their family. The tradition says that just like the Three Kinds brought Jesus his gifts after he was born, they bring gifts to the good children of Spain each year. The night before the Epiphany, there is a huge parade in Madrid called La Cabalgata with tons of floats and the three kings at the end. Colette and I went with my roommate Raquel to experience our first Cabalgata and see the kings. There are some notable differences between this parade and your average American parade:

  • The parade is at night. I have never been to a parade in the US and I certainly can’t imagine parents bringing their children into the city for a parade on Christmas Eve.
  • Parents bring actual ladders to the parade and then let their kids climb up them to see the parade better. Clever, but definitely illegal in the United States. Also Colette and I were constantly anxious that some toddler was going to fall of a ladder and get hurt.
  • El Cartero Real literally translates to “the real postman”. The three kings have a postman that receives all of the letters, sorts them, and then gives them to the kings. Colette and I both loved this and wondered why Santa doesn’t have a postman. All of the kids were excited when he rode by, and hoped he had their letters.
  • Most importantly, there are no other three kings like the Santa’s at every shopping mall in America. If you want to see the real three kings you have to go to the Cabalgata on the eve of the epiphany, that is your only chance. What this means is that the children go CRAZY when the three kings go by on their individual floats. It was really awesome and adorable to see.

Overall La Cabalgata was really cool, and I am so glad I saw it. Parades here are a really big deal, and it was so fun to see all of the little children excited.

I’m off to a FIVE HOUR class about “Creating a Business,” but look forward to updates this week about a day trip to Segovia and my birthday weekend:)  Ciao, amores!

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