London ,

Christmas continues in Spain with El Dia de los Reyes

Whilst children in the UK have another year to wait for the arrival of Father Christmas, Spanish children are eagerly awaiting the arrival of "los Reyes", or Three Kings, this weekend.

Known as the day of the epiphany, 6 January is a biblical celebration of when the Three Kings reached the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, and in Spain children wake up to presents which have been delivered magically overnight. The story is re-enacted on the night of 5 January each year, when the "cabalgata" (procession) of the Three Kings marches through cities and towns across the country. Thousands of people line the streets hoping to catch a glimpse of the procession, which also includes dancers, musicians and puppeteers.  The Three Kings ride on horseback, camels or on theatrical floats throwing goodies to the children in the streets. The procession is the longest standing parade in Spain and dates back to 1885.

Similarly to sherry and carrots, which are left out for Father Christmas and his reindeer, children in Spain often leave out sweets for the kings and something for their camels. The morning brings delight in the discovery that their generosity has been rewarded with presents.

6 January is a national holiday in Spain, where families get together to eat and enjoy traditional Roscón de Reyes, a sweet donut-shaped cake decorated with cherries and sometimes filled with cream. The New Year detox will have to wait until 7 January!