If you come from a country that doesn’t really celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas, then your holiday activities probably end with New Years Eve. But, that’s not how it’s done here in Spain. There are several Saints and events celebrated in December and January here and one of biggest ones is Los Reyes Magos. This day (January 6th) is all about the Three Wise Men – also known as The Three Kings. Some people refer to this day as Epiphany Day as well. So why is this day so important? For that answer we have to go back, like, way back.
History of the Holiday
The story goes that on the day of the birth of Jesus Christ word had spread that a miracle child was born to a virgin named Mary. People from around the world traveled far and wide to see the miracle with their own eyes. On the day they arrived – specifically The Three Kings – Christ was baptized and it was officially decided that Jesus was the human manifestation of God the Son. Hence the use of Epiphany – a hefty realization and a pretty big deal! Once this was declared, the people feasted and celebrated in the name of God and his gift to the world.
Since then, this momentous occasion has evolved into several different celebrations around the world. With heavily Christian nations continuing the tradition of celebrating the feast day on the 6th. That brings us to today where we get to join the Spanish in this ancient tradition.
Enjoying the Holiday Today
The status of the Magos parade is currently uncertain. Keep up to date of the official Madrid website for news.
Although the premise is still the same today, the feast day in these modern times is more of a celebration of family, friends and good food! Everyone has the day off on the 6th of January and most families will gather for a huge lunch or early dinner that will span over hours and hours of conversation and copious amounts of traditional Spanish food.
Los Reyes Magos is also the day in Spain where the children open their gifts – as opposed to December 25th for many of us. The evening before Reyes Magos (Jan 5th), families will head out to the streets to watch the famous Magos Parade (Cabalgata) that takes place at 18:30 in Avenida de la Castellana and continues to Plaza de Colón. The parade is symbolizes the arrival of the Three Kings as they head to visit Jesus Christ. There is music, performances and even candy handed out by the Kings themselves.