Celebrating Los Reyes!
There are so many additional celebrations in Barcelona comparing to Ireland, and with the kids in local school, we have embraced them all!
One such celebration we quickly adopted was El Dia de los Reyes, on 6th January. We jumped at this one, as we had a dilemma our first Christmas as emigrants: how could Santa deliver Christmas to Ireland if we had to go on a plane a few days later....hmmm...we needed a B plan. And Los Reyes it was!
In Ireland, 6th January is called 'Little Christmas' or 'Nollaig na mBan' (Women's Christmas), holding to an old tradition where the woman of the house would do no work on Little Christmas, and instead be served, after working hard throughout the holiday season. But otherwise, the day marked the end of Christmas as it is traditionally the final day of school holidays, even if we were back in our workplaces by 2nd January. So now we are in Barcelona, turning 6th January into a full on celebration is a big change for us!
Welcoming the 6th of January, which truly extends the Christmas vacation for all the family, we have adopted such traditions for the kids like:
Carta a los Reyes: Writing a letter to the Kings with our wishlist
Ven a ver a los Reyes Magos: Going to see the Kings on the day before in our local school, hand delivering our letters, just as we would visit Santa traditionally in other countries
Cavalcada de Reyes: Cycling to the local parade in our Barrio in Barcelona, catching candy from the floats, filling our bags full of goodies and getting coal painted on our faces (a risky situation, as kids who may fall short of the standards of the Kings can get coal instead of toys on the night in question!)
Leaving our boots at the door the night before, with food and drink for the 3 Kings and their camels, so the kings know to come. The Kings fill the boots with gifts.
Gifting the children the majority of their Christmas gifts that morning from Los Reyes, who we tell them are working closely with Santa to deliver all the gifts for Christmas!
On the morning of 6th January, it is lovely to soak the atmosphere around the Barrio and along the prom, where families are walking with bags of wrapped gifts and leaving bakerys with their freshly baked Roscan los Reyes (sweet bread in the shape of a crown).
The children sing Els Reis de L'Orient throughout the day.
We cook a great family meal, afterwards share the Roscan los Reyes, and some of the kids candy they received from Los Reyes while watching a family movie. This year, my son got both the small figure and the fava bean from the roscon, which means he is both the King of the celebration, but also needs to pay for next year's party...lets see if that happens...he'll be 6 yrs old!