Wednesday, January 7, 2009


   The holiday season is officially over. Yesterday morning Spanish children woke up to find more piles of presents next to their shoes (tradition is to put out your shoes so the 3 kings/wise men know where to put the presents for each person), the turron and hay left for the kings and camels gone, and later in the day, with a little luck, a little ceramic toy placed in the Rosca de reyes (sweet bread shaped into a ring, like a crown).
   For the older crowd, the day included one last round of presents, more family meals (nothing like Christmas eve or New years eve), and the rosca. I have to admit that I was a little holiday fatigued and not really that excited for reyes, but the night of the 5th, while shopping for last minute gifts I ran into the Cabalgata, the parade that marks the entrance of the 3 Kings into the city. The city was packed, kids were exstatic, and candy was thrown to the crowd.
   There was a really nice feeling in the city. Reyes is a hispanic celebration; hispanic kids are much more excited to write their letters to the reyes than to Santa, and as much as my heart leans more toward Santa, it was really nice to see that this tradition has not lost its excitement or appeal even as Santa's are climbing buildings around the city.

The first king, Gaspar

The next king, Melchor
The crowd's favorite king, Balthazar

And the Cartero Real, the royal Mailman who takes the letters to the kings

   New Years stories of grapes and churros to come soon...but I have to get out and celebrate the unofficial holiday of Rebajas (insane sales in all the stores that last for a month!!!) that begins today. I'm off to Zara.

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