On Saturday the 5th of January 2013, the long-awaited Three Kings’ Parade will be taking place in Barcelona much to the delight of children everywhere in the Catalan capital. Known as the “La Cavalcada dels Reis Mags” in Catalan, it takes place on the eve of the Epiphany (6th of January) when it is typical for Catalan families to exchange gifts, unlike the 25th of December in English speaking countries. Prior to this huge event, children are invited to write a letter to the
Three Kings and personally deliver it to the Royal Postman at Barcelona City Hall from the 2nd to the 5th of January. Alternatively, children can hand in their wish list to “Their Majesties Emissaries” on the Schooner Santa Eulàlia, which will be moored at Moll de la Fusta at Port Vell (near the Columbus monument) from the 2nd to the 4th of January 2013.
There are several Three Kings’ Parades in Barcelona however, the main one is the parade that starts at Moll de la Fusta in Barcelona. This 3-hour parade boasts 11 floats (carrozas), completes a 5km route across Barcelona and features over 1000 costumed participants alluring around 500,000 spectators who turn up to get their share of the sweets thrown from lorries. This year’s Kings’ Parade highlights include African puppets, a seven-metre high giraffe and three camels.
Three Kings’ Parade Route
The celebrations will kick off at 4:30pm with entertainment provided for those children who have already arrived. At 5pm the Three Kings will make a spectacular appearance aboard the Schooner Santa Eulàlia at Moll de la Fusta in front of the famous Columbus monument.
After greeting all the waiting children they will be transported to Avinguda del Marquès de l`Argentera by lovely Park Ciutadella where the Kings will start their journey through Barcelona at 6:30pm. The Three Kings’ Parade will then make its merry way up Via Laietana at 7:15, pass by Plaça Urquinaona at 7:35pm and arrive at Plaça Catalunya at 7:45pm. Finally, the Kings will pass by Plaça Universitat at 8:05pm, Carrer de Sepúlveda at 8:30pm, Vilamarí at 8:50pm, proceed down Avinguda Paral ·lel at 9pm and conclude at Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina and Avenida Rius I Taulet near the Magic Fountain of Montjuic at 9:30. Following the Three Kings’ Parade it is traditional for Catalan children to leave out their shoes, as well as some sweets for the Kings and some hay for their camels before they go to bed.
Epiphany in Barcelona
On the 6th of January children wake up to shoes filled with goodies. The rest of the day is spent in celebration with their family during which it is typical to eat a “Roscón de Reyes” (Kings’ Cake) topped with a crown. Hidden inside is a miniature king figure and another prize (usually a bean). The finder of the miniature king gets to be treated like a king for the day whilst the recipient of the bean has to pay for the Kings’ Cake the following year.