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Spain's Top 10

Simple...a series of lists rating Spain's top 10 in anything and everything...they may be lists compiled by independent reviewers or by myself....whichever, I hope you find them useful :-)

The Best 'Three Kings' Parades in Spain
03 January 2018 @ 19:32

Lights, floats, pages, sweets, and a lot of excitement are all you need to make a procession of the Magi or Three Kings into a one-of-a-kind experience. Even so, every year towns and cities go the extra mile to make these parades special: theatrical productions with top-quality settings and costumes, and fabulous fireworks. From all the processions organised in Spain every 5 January, we have chosen five which amaze children and adults alike, due to their spectacular production values, their originality, or their history.

Alcoy, the oldest in Spain

Any discussion of Magi processions in Spain has to begin with Alcoi, which has been holding its parade since 1885. This is not its only impressive statistic - it also has an enormous number of participants, with nearly a thousand people in the procession. One of the most exciting parts of the parade are the torch-bearers, who light the way for the floats and the royal pages. As always in the Valencia region, bands of musicians are an essential part of the procession, with Christmas carols to add to the mood. Up to three bands participate in the parade, as well as groups of drummers and dulzainas (pipers). Another feature of this parade is the work of les negres, the royal pages who bring presents to the children, using wooden ladders to climb up to the balconies of the houses. Traditionally, the event begins at 6 pm and ends after 10 pm, with the sky lit up by an impressive fireworks display.

 

Girona, all lit up

Processions of the Three Kings in Girona province are lit in a very special way, with the fanalets all the children carry. These are small lanterns, made of paper and brightly painted, with a lightbulb inside and carried on a stick. In recent years they have been modernised and can be bought in the shape of one of the Magi, a Christmas tree, a snowman, or even the latest popular cartoon character. The tradition is thought to have begun in mountain villages where the children would light bunches of lavender to make sure the Three Kings would see them, even though there was no procession in the village. Now there are many towns and villages where children light the parade with their little lanterns, in one of Catalonia's most endearing Christmas scenes. Although the tradition has spread throughout the region, the processions in Girona province, such as in the cities of Girona or Vic, are still among the most spectacular.

 

Cerler, the Magi on skis 

Few presentations are as spectacular as the arrival of the Three Kings at the Cerler ski resort, in the Huesca Pyrenees. Their Majesties sweep down the slopes, leaving the children open-mouthed in amazement, as well as their parents - it is pretty unusual to see the Three Kings riding a chairlift or performing pirouettes on skis. For the whole morning, they chat with the children and pose for photos with them, and even hand out sweets, without the need for royal pages. The celebration continues in the afternoon in Benasque, with a more traditional and restrained procession - this is a small village - but with the best possible setting. There's no need to use fake snow to decorate the parade here, as the real thing is usually in plentiful supply for Epiphany, and the scene could hardly be more picturesque. 500 extras, 100 torch-bearers, 5 floats and around twenty horses to thrill young and old with the magic of Christmas.

 

Madrid, the most spectacular

Although there are several processions in the capital every 5 January, the most spectacular passes through the city centre. This is one of the biggest in Spain, with more than 1,500 volunteers taking part. The route traditionally begins at Nuevos Ministerios and ends at Plaza de Cibeles, like so many of the city's major celebrations. It was first held in 1928, and one of its unusual features is that since the late 1980s, the Three Kings have been played by members of the City Council. Another peculiarity is that the people in this parade don't throw sweets into the crowd along the whole route, only in the fenced-off areas. The City Council introduced this measure in 2014 for the children's safety. The parade ends with a fireworks display after a speech by the Magi in Plaza de Cibeles.

 

Santillana del Mar, like a fairytale 

This is one of the prettiest medieval towns in all of Spain, so here the processions of the Magi have an incomparable setting, one of the main factors which have made it an official National Tourism Festival. The setup is different from most, because as well as the traditional procession, eight scenes are performed from a Mystery Play, the Auto Sacramental de los Reyes Magos. The streets are covered in straw, torches are lit as dusk falls, and the townspeople dress up as pages, washerwomen and shepherds. The scene-setting and the participation of many of the residents completely transform Santillana, giving the sensation of having travelled back in time more than two thousand years. The numbers give an idea of the majestic scale of the event: nearly 500 extras, 100 torch-bearers, 5 floats and around twenty horses to thrill young and old alike with the magic of Christmas.



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4 Comments


Falcón said:
03 January 2018 @ 21:52

LOVE Three Kings Magos because It is a special night as for children as adults, I LOVE IT!!
Three Kings Magos coming for all on the wold, land, sea and air.
Children living with great exciting. I LOVEEEE..
LOVE,LOVE,LOVE,LOVE....


marelison said:
06 January 2018 @ 10:12

Great article about the difference of the parades....Thanks for this.

Mar Elison, Iceland


nat-lads-dad said:
06 January 2018 @ 14:27

We went to the Belen Viviente in Arcos de la Frontera before Christmas. It was stunning. The amount of effort by local people was incredible, and not a donation bucket or entrance fee in sight. The Spanish really do care and understand the meaning of these religious events, something sadly lost in the the UK I fear.


Enns said:
03 March 2018 @ 17:46

People do contribute towards these parades, the town hall and others. Alcoy in my opinion has got too big and you get a bit bored seeing kids who really don't know what's going on. I prefer the Moors in Alcoy but was as bit put off when as the last moors came along they were yawning and shouting amongst one another. That is not what the Moors do.Its expensdive now to see this parade. Oliva, Bellregard and Beniganim are really good. If you go onto fiestas.net you can see where and when these parades are


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