Who are the Three Wise Men?

Tereza Ruzickova 3 min 0 Comments
Instituto Hispánico de Murcia - Who are the Three Wise Men?

The case of the Three Wise Men is a Spanish Christmas tradition celebrated with huge processions in cities, towns, and villages nationwide, big or small, where sweets and gifts are distributed to everyone.

When and Where Are the Three Wise Men Celebrated?

Known in the Anglo-Saxon world as the Epiphany, the arrival of the Three Wise Men is eagerly anticipated in Spain, with massive celebrations surrounding this event. The celebrations officially begin on the evening before the Epiphany, on the night of January 5th, when the Three Wise Men Parade is held in every city and town. Hundreds of people flood the main streets of urban centers to witness the recreation of the arrival of the Three Wise Men in the city.

People roam the streets, reaching the main avenues and squares carrying ladders to stand out above the second or third row of people, hoping to get a bag of sweets or another gift. Because in Spain, it’s not Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas who brings gifts on Christmas Day, but the Three Wise Men, whose generosity is proven every January 6th, the day of the Epiphany. Children, families, and entire cities across the country celebrate this important Spanish Christmas tradition.

Three Wise Men Traditions

With Christmas lights brightening the streets, Christmas scenes in various places, and carols setting the atmosphere, Spaniards celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men with a joyful procession called the Three Wise Men Parade. The Wise Men ride on horseback or elaborate floats and throw little gifts to the children lined up on the streets. This is also the children’s big chance to ask the Wise Men for toys.

That evening, before going to bed early, children leave their shoes in a place where the Wise Men can see them safely. Like Santa Claus, these religious monarchs love sweets, so Spanish children usually leave some candies to attract the Wise Men, as well as straw to feed their camels.

In the morning, children excitedly discover that the Wise Men have eaten the sweets, the camels have eaten the straw, and next to their shoes are the gifts waiting to be opened. The magical night concludes with another Spanish Christmas tradition: the typical breakfast with Roscón de Reyes, a circular cake decorated with fruits symbolizing the precious stones that adorned the elaborate clothing of the Three Wise Men.

Thanks to Paola for her contribution!

Instituto Hispánico de Murcia | Spanish Courses in Spain

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WRITTEN BY Tereza Ruzickova

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