Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy Three King's Day

Today fifth of January, many homes celebrate the arrival of the Three King's, The Three Wise Men, or the Three King's from the East. These three men,Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar (Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar in Spanish) are said to have visited Jesus after his birth bearing gifts.

Years ago in Spain, Santa Claus did not exist and the Three King's were the one's in charge of bringing gifts to the children.
Across the years the presence of Santa Claus has come to play an important part in Spanish homes, but the Three King's are still the main characters during this festive season.
Spanish children send their letters to their favorite King: Melchor, Gaspar or Baltasar and await eagerly for their arrival tonight.
So strong is the tradition that many towns (even small villages) prepare a royal mailbox for the children to deposit their letters in and if not the Royal mailman goes to each village picking up the letters.
Even if there is no mailbox there usually is a "Cabalgata" or parade, in which the Three King's riding on their camels appear before the children throwing candy.
The most recognized Cabalgata is the one celebrated in Spain's capital, Madrid.

Melchor in last year's Three King's Parade.

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