Children in Spain cheer the arrival of ‘The Three Kings’ of Epiphany

Posted On January 6, 2007

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Children throughout Spain thronged sidewalks to cheer the “arrival” of the Magi in traditional eve-of-the-Epiphany parades.

The parades are held each year on the 12th night after Christmas, the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the three wise men who followed a bright star to offer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn Christ child in Bethlehem.

The street parties enliven one of the country’s largest family-oriented feasts where parents accompany young offspring to see glittering floats brimming with colorful participants who shower onlookers liberally with candies and lollipops.

Madrid hosted one of the largest parades, as tens of thousands of people hailed dozens of floats accompanied by retinues of clowns, jugglers, horse-drawn carriages and marching bands that traveled down the capital’s main Paseo de la Castellana boulevard. At the tail-end of the parades, three floats traditionally bear the kings of Orient, each preceded by camels laden with presents.

Spanish children annually write wish-laden letters to the Magi, instead of to Santa Claus, requesting gifts that, if they have been good, are then left for them early on January 6. The “Kings” holiday is also popular in Latin America and the Caribbean.