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I Wonder Why...?

I will be writing about aspects of Spanish history and their traditions. I am a very curious person and have always needed to know "why" they do it, and "how" it came about. So over the years while living in Spain I have made a conscious effort to discover "el porque de las cosas" and I will be sharing them with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

A thousand tin cans for the Epiphany
Thursday, January 5, 2023 @ 1:00 PM

By boat, camel, horse, helicopter, on foot, by donkey or even in a convertible ... they will get there any way they can. The three wise men or the Three Kings will visit all towns around Spain on the 5th of January and most towns will organise their festive floats and parades to welcome them but in Algeciras, they will be summoned by an extremely noisy tradition with more than a century of tradition

On January 5th in the morning, before the Three Kings Parade, Algeciras celebrates the 'Arrastre de Latas' (Dragging of Cans), when the children of the city drag a string of tin cans through the streets. This tradition has a couple of explanations the first being an attempt to banish the "Giant of Botafuegos" who every Christmas tries to cover the sea with grey fog, obscuring the star from the Three Kings and thus making it impossible for them to proceed and also impossible to see the port of Algeciras. The noise scares off the Giant and the fog vanishes meaning that the children are able to receive their gifts. However there is another version of this legend: in the olden days when many families were too poor to buy presents, parents told their children that the Three Kings had so much work to do that they were tired and had fallen asleep. Therefore the children decided to make as much noise as they could so that the Kings would hear them and dragging tins through the streets was an effective solution.


Every year over 40,000 children, parents and grandparents attend this traditional ceremony before the arrival of the Kings. On the 5th of January, all participants congregate in the Plaza Andalucia at 11:00 am and at midday they set off for Llano Amarillo near the port, where the Kings are scheduled to arrive at around 13:00 pm.

Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar for many children are more important than Santa Claus but these three Kings were not always three or even Kings, there was even a time when the three were all white because Baltasar was not black until the sixteenth century. It was at that point that the Church wanted the wise men to represent the three parts of the known world: Melchor: old, bearded, white-haired representing Europe; Gaspar: young blonde on behalf of Asia and Baltasar: black, personifying the African continent. However what is general belief is that these wise men visited Christ on the twelfth day of Christmas, carrying Gold, Frankincense and myrrh.


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