We were very blessed to arrive in Spain during a very important holiday: The Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany). For Spaniards, the Christmas season doesn’t end on December 25. Rather, it continues up until January 6, when the Three Kings are claimed to have visited the newborn baby Jesus. For Spanish families, it is yet another day to exchange gifts and presents with each other. As our tour guide Enrique says, “After this, we are broke.”
On the fifth of January, before the day of the Tres Reyes (three kings) there is a huge parade in Barcelona to welcome the Three Kings to the town. It’s definitely smaller than the Macy’s Day Parade in the United States, but it’s impressive nonetheless. We waited for an hour in a large crowd of people, rubbing elbows with native Spaniards. Though the hour was a long wait, we were too cold and tired to move elsewhere. By that point, we had been walking for approximately 10 hours during the day. My legs felt like jelly, and I’m surprised I didn’t collapse on the spot.
Finally the parade began, starting with police cars and police officers handing out candy to the kids in the front. After the police, there was a huge double-decker bus with the three kings on the top, waving and blessing the town. Music blared and the crowd went wild. After the kings left, a marching band followed, with a sense of rhythm and an energy that transformed the plaza. Paper horses guided by a person in the middle pranced around the street in perfect synchronization to the music. The parade continued with many great acts and floats, and we left content and awe-struck.