Children in Spain typically do not receive gifts from Santa Claus, but rather the Three Kings or Wise men. Known here as Los Reyes Magos or Els Reis Mags in Català. The Kings bring their gifts on the Epiphany, January 6th. However, the party begins a day earlier when the Kings arrive in town.
El Rey Baltasar greets children in Port Vell, Barcelona | Photo by adn.es
:: Barcelona's La Cabalgata/Parade ::
On January 5th at 5 pm, Los Reyes Magos will arrive in Barcelona by schooner at Port Vell. After greeting many adoring children, Los Reyes Magos will receive a key from the Mayor that opens all the doors in the city so that they may deliver gifts to deserving children. To the kids on the naughty list, the kings deliver coal. With keys in hand, Los Reyes Magos will continue on what many consider Barcelona's best parade of the year.
Lasting over three hours, the 5 km-long parade slowly winds its way through the city with a magical displays of lights, music, elaborate costumes, floats and dancing. Children will be mesmerized, until they go into a frenzy when they realize that 15,000 kilograms candy is tossed from the floats. Some of the candy is even labeled as celiac-appropriate. The procession ends of the Font Màgica in Montjuic around 9 pm.
:: Letters to Los Reyes Magos ::
If you haven't already visited on the Royal Post Carrier outposts to drop off your letter to Los Reyes Magos, you still have time. Here is a template for writing the letter and you can give the letter to Royal Pages at Barcelona's Ajuntament (great photo op area and kids get a chat with Royal Post Carrier) on January 4th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm. Royal Post Carriers will also be abroad the schooner Santa Eulàlia in Port Vell on January 4th from 11 am to 7 pm.
My Children visiting the Carters Reials at Barcelona's Ajuntament.