By January 5th in the UK Christmas and the new year celebrations are well and truly over, whereas here in Spain they are still going strong and getting ready for the big one. The arrival of the Three Kings, or Wise Men, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. As I posted in my blog "Cordoba at Christmas" December 25th is a fairly subdued day, Los Reyes is the exciting time for the children!
January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem, and the children wake up to find presents from Los Reyes (the Kings). On the evening of the 5th the streets, of most if not all towns and villages, are lined with children, parents and grandparents too. The parades vary from small trucks and even tractors with trailors, with the Three Kings riding on them ,to in the larger cities, fantastic parades with marching bands. Where ever you are, you will be ducking and dodging not to get hit in the eye from the huge amount of sweets being thrown for the children. Most people have large bags to fill, or even upturned umberellas to keep them in sweets for a few weeks if not months!
Before going to sleep, children put some milk and biscuits next to the Christmas tree for the Three Kings and some water for their camels. They also leave out their best pair of shoes to be filled with presents. If they have been good, they will find a lot of good presents but if they have been naughty they will receive coal. These days, the coal is actually made of sugar, but some years ago it was real coal.
Alan and I thoroughly enjoyed the parade in our small town of Montoro, but this year decided to check out the parade in Cordoba. We arrived in good time and just headed to the main shopping area, which was already heaving with people. The parade in itself was excellent, what we could see, as there so many people there. Fireworks were set off from the big El Corte Ingles in town, and balloons were released that were hanging from nets between the buildings. At one point even little teddy bears on parachutes were being dropped from the shop too.
It was another fantastic night in Cordoba, and the only way to finish it in style was with churros and chocolate! We do sometimes wonder how the Spanish can have so many fiestas but they just generally enjoy life and use every opportunity to party and spend time with their family. Oh well that's the celebrations over until February.... carnival time! It's a tough life!
What a way to finish off the lovely evening :-)