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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.

Spain's Gastronomic Traditions of the Three Kings
Saturday, January 6, 2024 @ 11:43 AM


The tradition of The Three Kings, or Los Reyes Magos, is a key part of Spanish culture which brings to life Biblical stories recounting how, following Jesus's birth, magi from the East journeyed to the famous nativity in Bethlehem to bestow gifts upon the infant. The festivities are now marked across Spain with multitudinous celebrations, the holiday even honoured nationwide on the 6th of January. On the preceding day, parades are held in all areas during which candies and sweets are distributed to spectating children and adults alike, courtesy of the kings' impersonators.


Undeniably, one of the most deeply-rooted gastronomic customs is the delicious Roscón de Reyes, a sugar-coated cake with countless variations, recipes, and fillings. It is commonly enjoyed as a snack or dinner on the eve before Three Kings' Day and traditionally includes a hidden surprise. Tradition lends credence to various legends surrounding this surprise, ranging from bestowing good luck on the fortunate discoverer to, in some cases, mandating them to foot the bill for the sweet cake.

On the morning of the 6th, children awaken to gifts the magi have left overnight. A crucial part of the festivities holds that refreshments be kept for the visiting Kings, nourishing them on their long journey. Family traditions play a role in deciding what foods to leave out, from cookies, sweets, and fruit to chocolates. Asprocan, the Association of Organisations of Banana Producers of the Canary Islands, are advocating for people to adopt the custom of leaving 3 Canary bananas to help the kings replenish their energy.

Adding quaintness to the tradition, children leave a shoe out for each family member, hoping to have them filled with candies and treats. Those children who have been naughty during the past year typically receive coal. In recent times, bakeries have seized upon the trend of crafting 'sugared charcoal'.

In several Latin American countries, unique rites and traditions complement the celebration of the Three Kings' holiday. In Mexico, the customary Rosca de Reyes is also enjoyed. In Peru, the event is utilized to dismantle the Nativity, and in Puerto Rico, children traditionally collect fresh grass on the 5th to ensure the magis' camels are also fed.

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