As we already know, on January 6th we celebrate Epiphany, better known as the anniversary of the historical event where three Wise Kings from the East bring gifts to the Child Jesus in Bethlehem.
In many countries this party has been a bit overturned or forgotten, in Italy for example we talk about “Befana” – an old woman with a bad look, riding a broom- or even more, the role of the one who brings presents, it is in almost all the world attributed to the nice old man coming from the North Pole, better known as Santa Claus.
In Spain, despite the culture of Santa Claus is now “mainstream”, the day of the Three Wise Men turns out to be the cornerstone of Christmas time and its traditions are carefully preserved and repeated every year.
“Ever since I was a child – says Laura, a resident of Álora, a town near Pizarra – the Three Wise Men have always been the ones who bring gifts. The tradition of Santa Claus has just arrived, only a few years ago, from then it’s used to give a small gift to children to not let them down in case a friend asks about the gifts received from Santa. ”
“The observance of this important tradition of the Three Wise Men – Laura reveals to me – is probably due to the fact that, being Spain geographically decentralized, this could have slowed the Nordic contamination, without forgetting that, during the Franco regime, every form of exoticism was hindered. ”
The night between the 5th and 6th of January is a very emotional moment for the little ones, charged with the magical tension that also many adults remember well.
In order for the Three Wise Men to leave their gifts, more than the basic requirement of having been a good child, you must practice, according to the Spanish tradition, some small precautions: every child must leave his/her shoes near the window, so that the Three Wise Men may know that he or she lives there; then you have to set up a small table with sweets and anise for the Oriental guests and water for their camels. Only then, when they wake up, the children will be able to find the wished gifts near their shoes.
The party starts on 5th January from the afternoon with the famous Cavalcade of the Wise Men.
The Three Eastern Kings walk by the streets of the center of all Spain by all means: the most traditionalists riding a camel and the most modern, as in the case of this year in Madrid, by a helicopter.
People from Pizarra too have celebrated this important tradition enriching it with a lot of fun for both adults and children.
On this occasion, the House of Culture has become the home of the Three Kings. After a long line of children with their parents, entering the house you can find the three Wise Kings, with golden and silver clothes, sitting on their thrones waiting for the little guests. The children, very happy, can finally sit on the knees of their favorite Kings and ask for their gifts.
After listening to all the requests of the young inhabitants of Pizarra, the Cavalcade begins. The Three Wise Men come out on the threshold of the House of Culture and between Christmas music and colorful confetti from the sky, in great celebration, their floats come up.
Each float is decorated with the color of the Magician King’s dress that would have carried and around the front, many children are seated.
Among the Royal-floats there are also other carnival float, some representatives of famous cartoons, other followed by acrobats and street artists who have filled the square with music and colors.
Once on their means, the Three Wise Men cross the town to reach the Convent where they prostrated themselves in adoration of Baby Jesus.
The square and the edges of the streets are crowded of people intent on taking sweets thrown from the wagons and in the bars, inhabitants of Pizarra, eat the Roscón, the sweet cake typical of this celebration to be consumed strictly between 5 and 6 January.
The Roscón is a circular cake filled up with cream or chocolate, with candied fruit on it that symbolizes the precious stones that adorned the suit of the Royal Trio.
To conclude I write you the poetry that can be found in the packaging of each Roscón and that tells the tradition of this delicious cake.
Here is the Roscón of the Three Wise Men
tradition of a great banquet
in which there are two surprises
for those who are lucky
In it there are well hidden
a fava bean and a figure
the one who is going to cut it
do it without trick.
Whoever in the mouth
meet an hard thing
in the worst case is the fava bean
in the better, the figure.
If the bean it’s found
this dessert you will pay
but if it is the figure
crowned and King you will be.
He aquí el roscón de Reyes
tradición de un gran banquete
en el cual hay dos sorpresas
para los que tengan suerte.
En él hay muy bien ocultas
una haba y una figura
el que lo vaya a cortar
hágalo sin travesuras.
Quien en la boca se encuentre
una cosa un tanto dura
a lo peor es la haba
o a lo mejor la figura.
Si es la haba lo encontrado
este postre pagarás
mas si ello es la figura
coronado y Rey será.