Three Kings

Here in Spain the most special days over the Christmas period are not the 24/25th December – which are reserved for religious services and a very late Christmas Eve dinner – but 5/6th January. Spanish children put out their ‘shoes’ (nowadays a little bigger than standard size!) for the Three Kings: Los Reyes Magos. It a a national holiday, and parades take place all over the country when the ‘kings’ ride into towns distributing sweets (and occasionally, small toys) to eager children. It is the time for family celebrations, and for sharing a Roscon de Reyes (Three Kings’ cake) often containing one or more gifts of a black bean (!), a coin, and a tiny model king. Traditionally, the person who gets the bean has to pay for the cake the following year. The cake is the shape of a large bagel, filled with plain or chocolate whipped cream, or sometimes just plain vanilla flavour. The cake used to represent a crown, ‘bejewelled’ with dried and candied fruits.

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