The Three Kings (Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar in Catalan) visit children in Spain on the twelfth night of Christmas like Santa visits us on Christmas Eve. We joined the parade in Barcelona that welcomes the Kings on the eve of the Epiphany.
The crowds came to the parade with crowns, bags to collect the sweets, ladders to watch from high and wish list letters.
The kings arrived from the port in a small cavalcade and the procession turned around to head into Barcelona.
First came the police horses then the emergency service vehicles and then the Royal Guard Lancers on horseback. Followed by street sweepers to clean up after the horses.
The real parade started with a double decker bus from which sweets were thrown to the crowd. Next came the post men, riding bikes or carrying nets to collect the children’s wish list letters. Others of the Kings’ helpers collected children’s pacifiers or dummies. Various floats passed by representing children’s performers and toy factories. Dancers also passed by, often preceded by a trailer of generators to provide stage lighting. The parade was frequently punctuated by sweet throwers and the children’s bags were filling up.
The theme was definitely Middle Eastern, representing the homes of the kings and perhaps also representing the huge Moorish influence we have seen in all parts of Spain.
The Samsung float came by, followed by the Kings’ helpers recording wish lists from children in the crowd on Galaxy tablets.
A float with sleepy children drifted by, reminding the young audience that nothing will happen without a good night’s sleep.
The kings came in highly decorated floats and waved to the children, with their promises of gifts to the good children.
The last float, before the second round of street sweepers, was the coal mine, threatening to bring just a piece of coal if you were bad.
There had been a long wait for the parade but the kids were great and well entertained. Even I felt like going to bed early in case those three wise men visited me.
According to the Barcelona Yellow City Guide in 2012 an estimated 500,000 people go to see the parade which involved 1,200 costumed performers and eleven floats. Twelve tons of gluten free sweets are thrown to the crowds. I managed to grab 1 sweet.