In Spain, and some Latin American countries including Mexico, January 6th is called El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Kings). That's the day the three kings: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar are said to have arrived in Bethlehem on horse, camel and elephant, bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. (Both frankincense and myrrh were highly sought after aromatic tree resins thought to have healing properties.)
|Night of the Kings parade on Isla|
Most towns in Spain and Latin America arrange colorful parades on January 5th representing the arrival of the Reyes Magos to town so children can see before they go to bed. Sweet wine, fruit and milk are left for the kings and their camels, similar to the milk and cookies my sisters and I left for Santa Claus and his eight reindeer to enjoy.
On the eve of January 6th, Spanish and Latin America children frequently leave their clean shoes ready to receive the kings' presents.
(We, on the other hand, put our dad's big woolen work socks at the foot of our beds on Christmas eve.)
|Party for island kids in sports dome|
Kids on bouncy castles. Kids on slides. Kids inside what looked to be a wresting ring. And more kids falling off, into, or over every type of kid apparatus you could imagine. The laughter volume was turned all the way up to the max!
|How many can we fit on this slide?|
Then as we continued walking up the street heading in the general direction of our house, we encountered the Night of the Kings parade. There were three kings in the lead vehicle along with a political representative from the state, followed by another twenty or thirty decorated vehicles, golf carts, and motos. Everyone had handfuls of candy to pitch towards the spectators.
(Amazing how quickly my sweetie could scramble after the tasty goat's milk toffee candies.)
As we meandered our way home, several neighbours hailed us with greetings, requests that we come over and view their colourful Christmas decorations, or elaborate Nativity scenes. It was a pretty great way to end our evening walk.