So the tree and its trimmings is back in the loft, you’ve trawled the sales with a fine tooth comb and all that’s left are mismatched pairs of shoes and banana yellow coats, you have probably even broken at least one of your resolutions. Well, how do you fancy a bit of “groundhog day”? Imagine if you had to do Christmas again, this weekend!
Whilst everyone in the UK is detoxing and seeking psychiatric help, those die-hard Spanish are going for it again on the 6th January.
This is the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. Those lucky Spanish children not only receive a couple of gifts from Santa but also wake up on the sixth to find even more presents from Los Reyes (the Kings). Surprisingly, in the popularity stakes the Kings far outshine the man in the red suit as can be seen at the processions in every Spanish town on the 5th.
The Kings parade on huge, decorated floats throwing sweets for all the children waiting excitedly for their arrival. You would think that having indulged in the famous turron and polverones over Christmas, the Spanish would need a break. On the contrary, this particular festival satisfies the sweetest of tooth with rosco de reyes, a large donut-shaped cake filled with cream.
You’ve really got to hand it to the Spanish embarking on yet another festival with such vigour and enthusiasm. But one has to remember that they generally enjoy life and use every opportunity to party and spend time with their family. The Kings aren’t just for the kids, here, in Andalucia all ages take to the streets to join in. It amazes me how people tend to approach one festival after the other with a relaxed but still animated attitude.
I suppose their secret is that they don’t suffer from that post-Christmas feeling of burnt out anti-climax after such an extensive, high pressure build up. You see, most of the shops don’t actually start dropping hints until December and you’re lucky to ever catch a glimpse of a Santa Clause.
They manage to achieve a healthy balance of enjoying Christmas for what it is, whilst not allowing it to invade their lives months beforehand. They do Christmas in a pretty similar way to the generations before them, in terms of what they eat and how they celebrate. Traditions are maintained but people don’t fret about perfecting Jamie Oliver’s recipes and hiring interior designers to decorate their tables with “themes”.
Although I admire their ability to have fun and their attention to the religious aspect of Christmas, I am not really keen on dragging last year’s festivities into the New Year. Despite living in Spain, the New Year for me is a time for a fresh start with a big clear up of mind, body and home. However, that’s not to say that I won’t be sacrificing the diet for the day for the Rosco de Reyes!