CHRISTMAS IS OFFICIALLY OVER JANUARY 6 IN BARCELONA
Christmas season is long in Spain! This week we are celebrating the last special day before it ends: January 6 in Barcelona is the day of the Three Wise Men (or the Magi, or the Tres Reis Mags, in Catalan) or the Epiphany. If you are visiting Barcelona in January, you can’t miss this tradition!
We celebrate that the Three Wise Men from the East followed the shooting star to find the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and brought him gold, incense and myrrh as gifts. This is why that’s the traditional day in Spain for kids to get their presents (despite Santa Claus invading our lives lately due to globalization…).
The Wise Men are a kids Christmas favorite in Spain, join the fun: we tell you how!
Discover how to enjoy the Wise Men celebration in these 5 steps:
Make sure to have written a letter to your favorite Wise Man
Melcior (the White), Gaspar (the Blond) or Baltasar (the Black), and don’t forget to tell him the presents you’d like to get for having a been good kid during the year. Then bring your letter to a Wise Men Page (you can usually find one at the Virreina Palace in La Rambla, and another one near any Corte Inglés as well).
On the 5th the Three Wise Men arrive to the city: Don’t miss their parade, la “Cavalcada”!
In Barcelona they usually arrive by boat at the Moll de la Fusta pier around 5pm, the parade crosses the whole city towards Montjuic. Everything about its itinerary can be found in the website of the city council.
Go to sleep
After the parade, you need to go back home quickly, eat dinner and go early to bed. But before you do that, make sure to leave some cava wine and turron for the Wise Men, and some water and old bread for their camels. We also leave a shoe near the Christmas Tree so they know how many people live in the house and want to get gifts.
The next day
When the family wakes up, the wise men will have left presents for everybody. And after that, usually starts an itinerary around the houses of other relatives (grandparents, uncles and aunts, close friends…) to see if the Wise Men left anything for the kids as well.
And finally, get ready for a family big meal that always finishes with the traditional Tortell de Reis, a marsipan bread dough similar to Mardi Gras King Cake. Inside the cake there are two surprises, the “good one” and the “bad one”. If you get the fava bean, that’s the bad one: you’ll have to pay the cake! But if you get the little king/wise man figure, then you’ll be crowned king of the day and you’ll have the right to wear the paper crown that came with the cake. I often find the occasion to show these Tortell cakes to my clients when we are having a tour of the city center of Barcelona this time of the year.
And after that, Christmas time will officially be over!
Children will still be given another day off before going back to school on the 8th after almost 20 days of holidays.
As for adults… well, it’ll be time to dieting after so much food and wine these days!
AND BONUS! How can you encourage your children to be generous and solidary for this special date?
Be supportive: donate a toy
Every January 5th many institutions organize a toy collection to make sure no kid will be left without a present the next day. One of the most famous collects is that organized by Radio Barcelona. Participate by buying a toy and taking it to the stand in front of their seat at 6, Casp . They’ll be accepting toys from 10.30 AM to 1PM. By the way, in case you don’t know where to buy a toy, the department store Corte Inglés is conveniently located around the corner!). Help the Wise Men spread the joy in Barcelona!
What about you? Tell us on a comment below if you’ve ever celebrated the Wise Men day!