Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A White Kings' Day = Un Día de Reyes Blanco

Incredible as it may seem, it has been a white Kings Day (aka Epiphany) here in Barcelona! Although it was more like heavy sleet than snow, enough of it accumulated on local sidewalks, streets and plazas to cover the city in a dazzling white blanket. Drivers panicked and pedestrians tread carefully, but children may have interpreted it as one more gift from the Three Kings. All in all, it's been a nice holiday for this big kid, too.

Yesterday evening I walked in near freezing temperatures down to the most central of Barcelona's marinas to see the Magi arrive. To cheering crowds of children, parents and tourists, the Three Wise Men disembarked from the historic schooner Santa Eulalia, and accepted the keys to the city from Mayor Jordi Hereu. After various speeches, the Kings and their Pages walked through the throngs to collect letters from the little ones, so that they would know what gifts to deliver that night.

Eventually Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar split up into separate cream-colored convertible Rugby's from the 1920s that had been waiting to drive them to another location, where they were to meet up with Father Christmas (Papa Noel), and get on their respective floats so that the official 2009 Parade of the Kings (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) could wind through the city's avenues. I read in the newspaper today that nearly half-a-million people lined the streets to see the Three Kings, Santa and various other holiday luminaries roll by -- and throw candy and/or "coal" at the kids.

Today I headed out in the snowy cold to a Norwegian friend's for a Kings' Day get together. After stuffing ourselves with a scrumptious meal of homemade Mexican food, we settled in for a good Japanese film on DVD -- with Spanish subtitles, of course. (Talk about an international observance of the day!) We also enjoyed a colorful and sweet King Cake (Roscone de Reyes) for dessert -- and this year I got the piece with the King!

Feliz Reyes amig@s,

Carloz

P.S. You can see a colorful photo slide show of the arrival of the Kings and the parade on ElPeriodico.com.


P.P.S. For more on Holiday Season traditions in Spain, see my Dec. 23, 2007 post, Christmas, New Year and Kings Day Traditions in Spain.

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