There are many versions about the origin of The Three Kings or The Three Wise Men, but there is one thing that we all know for sure: the illusion and expectations for their arrival on a night like this.
As mentioned, their origin is not defined or clear. The Bible refers to them as magicians, but with no specification of how many they were or even that they were actually kings. It has traditionally been said to be three because of the amount of gifts brought to baby Jesus: gold, incense and myrrh.
History and legend have moved on together giving us a reason to believe in the “Noche de Reyes”. It is said that in the wee hours of January 5th, three kings started a long trip from far away East to meet and greet the new-born Jesus and to offer him some presents. They learnt about Jesus’ birth from the king Herod who desperately wanted to find out where exactly the boy was to kill him.
An angel told them about the true reason why the emperor wanted to find Jesus and this is why the three kings took another way back to their land so that Herod would never find out where the new-born was.
From that point, the story told by the Bible has turned into what we consider today the most magical night of the year.
And in fact, here in Spain, Christmas is not really over until the kings have come with all their presents.
There are no words to describe the feelings that, especially children, feel on the eve of 6th. It all starts with the letter sent to the attention of “Their Majesties The Kings of the East”, which is given to one of their pages a few days before the famous parade.
In the late afternoon of January 5th, a colourful and brilliant party meant for the little ones begins along the main avenues of most Spanish towns and cities. Every king rides a carriage and is followed by others that represent famous tale characters. Candies and gifts are offered to everyone as an advance of what is still to come.
Once the parade is finished, it is then time to go back home, have a bit of the traditional “Roscón de Reyes”, leave a piece for the kings to gain some strength and go to sleep.
January 6th, the only day in the year when children do not need any help to wake up early in the morning. And there they are, next to the Christmas tree, all presents brought magically by the kings; should you not have been a good boy or girl, expect a piece of sweet coal.
This is doubtlessly an amazing moment written on the faces of all children.
Happy Three Kings night!