In a lot of countries in the world, Christmas is celebrated with the help of a very jolly, chubby character named Santa Claus. Despite the friendly man’s growing appearance in houses in Spain, mainly those with young parents, most of the Spanish are still faithful to the official gift-giving day: Dia de los Reyes Magos – The Three Wise Men Day.
Inspired by the Christian Bible story of the Three Wise Men who followed the star to visit Jesus in Jerusalem, bringing him gifts, Spain celebrates the 6th of January as the day they exchange their Christmas gifts.
The three Wise Men are beloved by the Spanish people, particularly the younger ones, since they continue to pay visits and leaving them gifts. But before that can happen, children have to write the kings a letter in which they tell them if they have behaved during the year and what gifts they would like to receive.
On the day before Dia de los Reyes Magos, each city holds their own Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, or Three Wise Men parade. This is a parade with colorful floats, lots of music and children’s favorite Christmas characters, kings Melchior, Balthasar and Gaspar, who com all the way from the Orient to bring them gifts and candy.
The official parade is organized by Ayuntamiento de Madrid, starting at 6:40 pm at Nuevos Ministerios, located at Plaza San Juan de la Cruz, passing by Plaza del Doctor Gregorio Marañon, Glorieta de Emilio Castelar, Plaza de Colón, and Paseo de los Recoletos, finishing at Plaza de la Cibeles around 9 pm.
There will also be other Three Wise Men parades organized by other districts in Madrid, which may be a good option for people who would like to watch La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos live, but can’t conceive of standing among a large crowd for too long. Here are some of them:
Cabalgata de los Reyes de Chamartín – January 3rd. Starts at 5:30 pm at Plaza de Perú.
Cabalgata de los Reyes de Fuencarral – El Pardo – January 4th. Starts at 5:30 at Calle Afueras a Valverde.
Cabalgata de los Reyes de San Blas – Canillejas – January 4th. Starts at 5:30 pm at Calle San Román del Valle.
Cabalgata de los Reyes Villa de Vallecas – January 4th. Starts at 5 pm at Calle Rayo Vallecano.