THE THREE WISE MEN
On 5th January Spain celebrates the end of Christmas with a great party where everybody gives and receives presents. It is to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men – Melchior Gaspar and Balthazar – to the city where Jesus was born. In the same way that the Three Wise Men gave gifts to baby Christ, here they share out presents amongst children around Spain – in fact; they are more popular than Santa Claus. There are lots of processions (parades) of the Three Wise Men in each city, the children go along with their parents to see the kings and receive sweets from them.
Before going to sleep, children put some milk and biscuits next to the Christmas tree for the Three Kings and some water for their camels. They also leave out their best pair of shoes to be filled with presents. On the next day, 6th January children wake up and see how many presents they have received. If they have been good, they will find a lot of good presents but if they have been naughty they will find coal. These days, the coal is actually made of sugar, but some years ago it was real coal. During this day, all families enjoy a piece of roscon (a sugar-frosted fruit-filled bread) for breakfast tradition says that the person who finds a novelty such as a coin, in his or her portion will have good luck for the next year. Both young and old enjoy opening their presents on this day, but sadly it also marks the end of Christmas.
SANTA CLAUS OR THE THREE WISE MEN? WHAT IS YOUR CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY TRADITION?