Three Kings in Marbella
The most important holiday of the year to most Spaniards, especially the children!Three Kings is the main Christmas period celebration of the year in Spain and the celebrations in Marbella are magnificent and most certainly a spectacle to enjoy if you are visiting at this time of year.
Three Kings is a celebration of the arrival of Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior in Bethlehem to see baby Jesus, and is enjoyed all over Spain with a street parade, known in Spanish as a "Cabalgata de Reyes", on the evening of the 5th of January with the first ever parade that was recorded being in 1876 in Alicante. In the past the Three Kings distributed roles regarding giving out gifts to the children, unfortunately for Balthazar he was in charge of giving coal (the real one, not sweet) stones or wood to children who had not done well. Gaspar gave candy or nuts and Melchior brought clothes and shoes; the gifts of those times were adapted to the needs of the moment. Children will usually write a letter to the Kings asking for their most desired toys and every city has a designated area to place those letters which in the case of Marbella is in the Plaza de la Alameda. During the night of the 5th, the Three Kings visit the children at home while they are sleeping to leave presents for those who have been good throughout the year. For those that have not a piece of charcoal is left!
In Marbella, the Three Kings arrive by boat at the Puerto Deportivo in Marbella at lunchtime on 5th January to be greeted by the mayor of Marbella before being through the streets of Marbella in open-top cars to the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) in the old town of Marbella. The three kings throw sweets to the children who have come along to see them and there is often a crowd so if you plan to attend this early part of the celebrations then it is wise to go into the old town in the morning in preparation for their arrival. Later that evening at 6pm there is a themed procession along the main road, Avenida Ricardo Soriano. Streets are cut off to allow families to come together and cheer for the arrival of the Three Kings! The parades are similar to a carnival float with often larger-than-life-size cartoon characters as well as magical creatures taking to the streets! As the Three Kings journey across town, they throw gifts of sweets to all of the children standing alongside the route. In Marbella, the parade travels along the main high street in the centre of Marbella starting at the Quiron Hospital near the Puerto de la Bajadilla and travels along the length of Avenida Ricardo Soriano as far as the Copper Tower. Roads are closed from early morning on the 5th January so if you wish to view the parades it is wise to go into town in the afternoon, get the car parked somewhere not too far from the centre but not within it or you will find yourself somewhat trapped! We would recommend parking along Calle Jacinto Benavente.
On the 6th of January, Spanish families will open their gifts brought to them by the Three Kings as well as eat the famous ''Roscón de Reyes'', a ring-shaped sweet bread which contains a little surprise hidden inside its dough, usually a little figure of Jesus. Whoever comes across the little-hidden gem becomes King of the house for the day!
The 6th January is a National Holiday in Spain so also expect businesses to be closed.