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Día de Reyes in Spain (The Magi)


What is the Día de Reyes?

Día de Reyes, also known as Epiphany or Three Kings' Day, is a public holiday celebrated on January 6th in Spain. It commemorates the biblical story of the three wise men, (also known as the Magi)," who visited the newborn baby Jesus in Bethlehem at the end of the Christmas season. On this day, children in Spain and around the world receive gifts from the Three Kings, who are said to bring gifts

to children who have been good all year.


This holiday is a time for families to gather and celebrate in Spain. Children frequently take part in parades or reenactments of the Three Kings story, and it is customary for people to exchange gifts, sing carols, and eat special foods such as roscón de reyes, a sweet bread traditionally served on this day.


Overall, Día de Reyes is a significant cultural and religious holiday in Spain, and it is widely celebrated across the country.



Who were the Magi that visited baby Jesus?


As the feast of the Epiphany approaches on January 6, we meet the mysterious Magi once more.But who were these characters who appeared out of nowhere and vanished just as quickly?


The story tells that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Magi (also known as the Three Wise Men) from the east arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews?" according to Matthew's Gospel. We saw his star rise and have come to pay our respects." (Matthew 2:1-3, NIV)

After consulting his own advisers, King Herod directs the Magi to Bethlehem, the city of David where the Messiah is said to be born.

They see the star after arriving at the location, and upon entering the house, they see the child with Mary, his mother. They bowed to him and paid him homage. They then opened their treasures and presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts. And, having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their homeland in a different direction." Matthew 2:11–12


The Bible does not mention the names of the three wise men. They are simply known as the "three wise men" or "magi." Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar were their names, according to tradition. However, there is no historical evidence to confirm this.


The Bible does not say where they came from, but they are frequently depicted as Eastern kings. Some believe they originated in ancient Persia, which is now modern-day Iran. Others believe they came from Arabia or another region of the Middle East. There is no definitive answer to the origins of the three wise men, and their true identities and origins remain a mystery.



Reyes Magos Parades


On the 5th of January, parades and other celebrations are held across the country to commemorate the occasion. The Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, or the Parade of the Three Kings, is held in many cities and towns throughout Spain. People dressed as the Three Kings and other characters from the biblical story of the wise men ride through the streets in floats or on horseback during this parade.

Children and adults alike frequently take part in the parade, which is a popular event attended by large crowds.

People who take part in Día de Reyes parades in Spain are known to throw sweets, small toys, and other trinkets to children watching the parade.

This is a fun and festive way of sharing the joy of the holiday and spreading good cheer, and it is enjoyed by both children and adults.


What do children leave for the Three Wise Men?


On the evening of January 5th, known as the Eve of the Epiphany, children in Spain and some other countries leave out food and drinks for the Three Wise Men. This is done to greet the Three Kings and show them hospitality when they arrive.

Children frequently leave out a plate of food for the Three Kings, such as fruits, nuts, and sweets, as well as a glass of water or a cup of hot cocoa.

Some children also leave a letter or drawing for the Three Kings, in which they may request a specific gift or express their hopes for the coming year.

Leaving food and drinks out for the Three Wise Men is a fun and meaningful way for children to participate in the Día de Reyes festivities.


How did the Three Wise Men travel to Bethlehem?


The Bible makes no mention of the mode of transportation used by the three wise men, also known as the three magi, when they traveled to Bethlehem to visit the baby Jesus. Some believe they traveled by camel, which was a common mode of transportation in the Middle East at the time. Others believe they traveled by horseback or some other means.


The wise men are frequently depicted in art and literature as traveling by camel, but this is not supported by historical or biblical evidence. It is simply a convention that has grown in popularity over time.


What does the star represent and why is it so important?


The star mentioned in the story of the three wise men is thought to represent the star that is said to have appeared in the sky around the time of Jesus' birth.


The wise men followed the star, which led them to the birthplace of Jesus, according to the Bible.


The Star of Bethlehem is a significant symbol in Christianity, and it is frequently used to represent Jesus' divinity and his role in humanity's salvation. It is regarded as a symbol of God's presence and involvement in the world, and it is thought to have guided the wise men to Jesus as a way of signaling his symbolic importance and the significance of his birth.



What gifts did the three wise men give to Jesus and what do they represent?


The three wise men presented the baby Jesus with three gifts, according to the biblical story: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

These gifts are described in the book of Matthew in the Bible's New Testament.

The gold gift is thought to represent Jesus' royalty and status as a king.

The fragrant resin frankincense is often associated with divinity and is used in religious ceremonies. It is thought to represent Jesus' status as a divine being and God's son.

Myrrh, a gum resin used to make perfumes and ointments, is frequently associated with death and is used in burial rituals.

It is thought to represent the anguish and death that Jesus would later face.


Some popular Spanish Reyes carols

Many popular carols are sung during the holiday season in Spain, as in other parts of the world, including on Día de Reyes. Some of the most popular Spanish carols that can be sung on this day are:


"Campana sobre campana" (Bells upon Bells): A traditional Spanish carol telling the story of Jesus' birth.

"Los peces en el rio" (The Fishes in the River) is a quiet, humble song about the Virgin Mary washing her child's clothes in a river.

"El tamborilero" (The Drummer Boy): This is a popular Spanish carol about a young drummer boy who played for the baby Jesus.

"Hacia Belén va una burra, rin, rin," says the narrator (Towards Bethlehem goes a donkey, jingle jingle). The song tells the story of a brave donkey on his way to see Baby Jesus in the manger.

The song "Campanas de Belén" (Bells of Bethlehem) commemorates Jesus' birth in Bethlehem: "Bell after bell, and after bell, one, go to the window and you will see the child in the crib."

"Arre Borriquito" (Come on, little donkey): "I'm going to set a firecracker in the doorway of my house to laugh at anyone who comes singing carols and asking for treats."

"Ya vienen los Reyes" (The Three Wise Men are coming) This carol is extra special to children, as its lyrics remind listeners that the royal trio is on their way: "The kings are approaching over the sandy hills."


What do Spanish people eat on this day?

On special occasions, such as Día de Reyes, which is celebrated on January 6th, it is not uncommon for Spaniards to eat fish or seafood. Paella, a traditional Spanish dish made with rice, seafood, and vegetables; calamares a la romana, or breaded and fried calamari; and bacalao, or salted cod, are some popular fish and seafood dishes that may be served on this day.

Having said that, it is also common for Spaniards to eat meat. Roast chicken or turkey, pork roast, and lamb are some popular meat dishes that may be served on this day.


Overall, the foods eaten on Día de Reyes vary according to personal preferences and regional traditions. Some families may prefer fish and seafood, whereas others may prefer meat dishes.


Roscón de Reyes: A sweet bread traditionally served on the Noche de Reyes. It's a round donut bread made with flour, sugar, and eggs that's often topped with candied fruit. A small figurine or toy is hidden inside, and the person who finds it is crowned "king" or "queen" of the evening. If they find a "bean," they must pay for next year's roscón.


Do other countries celebrate Reyes apart from Spain?


Yes, Epiphany is celebrated in many other countries around the world, including Italy, France, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and many others.

Happy Reyes Day! ...

¡Feliz Día de Reyes!


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