Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tres Reyes (Three Kings)

While we moved here on Three Kings Day 4 years ago, we actually have never attended any festivities surrounding this huge holiday up until this year.  Los Tres Reyes Magos is a HUGE holiday here in Spain, even bigger than Christmas (though the Americanization of Christmas is slowly taking over).  In fact, it's the culmination of the 12 days of Christmas that leads up to this big day.  Stores are open til midnight (on a Sunday night this year believe it or not!) the night before the Kings make their visit to the children of Spain.

With friends in tow, the kids and I made our way to Placa Catalunya this year to experience the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos - or the Three Kings Parade.  The Kings actually make their way into the city via boat and then the parade takes place throughout some of the major parts of the city. However, we decided to focus on the city center, perhaps a mistake on our part as it was ridiculously crowded.

We made our way towards the entrance of the Portal d' Angel right off the Placa.  And within minutes it was shoulder to shoulder.  Now, I'm not a fan of crowds on a good day, so this was slightly claustrophobic to me.  But I could deal with it.  And as the parade began, I got excited to see what we were in store for.

In the metro station ready to go the parade!

While we were only maybe 6 people away from the front of the line of people, it was still far enough in that the kids couldn't see.  And so I boosted Liam on to my shoulders and my friend Eddy kindly took Aidan upon his (later taking Liam when Aidan and I decided to escape the crowds).  Within moments my shoulders were on fire and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to hold 45 pounds of Liam on my shoulders for the next hour.  Not to mention, the crowds were making me nervous that I was afraid I could lose my balance with him.

Eddy and Liam do a selfie after Aidan and I escaped the crowds

Before I get any further, I'd like to note that as we boosted the kids on to our shoulders, a kind gentleman in front of us told us to go ahead of him, stating that this is a holiday for the children.  It was a kind thing for him to do and I felt the spirit of the holidays.  Within moments that spirit was shred to bits as a family of at least 6 shoved their way thru the crowd to the front row despite the guy next to me yelling at the dad that others had been waiting quite some time and he couldn't just force his way thru. The guy's response was that "it was for the children".  So we went from "for the children" as a kindness from the guy near us to "for the children" as an excuse to be a total jackass from the guy who shoved his way thru to the front.  So much for the spirit of the holiday.

Anyways, there was quite some time between the floats and within 20 mins or a half hour, even Liam asked to get off my shoulders, stating that his legs were going numb from me holding them.  Aidan also felt similarly.  So I don't have a ton of pictures from the evening but I'm glad we got to see at least a little bit of what kind of show Barcelona can put on for this holiday as thus far every parade we've been to here has had a flatbed truck with people throwing candy off the back of it - no decorations or anything.  So it was nice to see the city going all out for a bit.  And I'm glad we got the chance to finally make our way to this parade before we (likely) head back to the US for good.

Cool mechanical horse

Kids don't write letters to Santa but to the Three Kings and the letters are collected during the parade in this little baskets that are swung into the crowds.

I imagine it's an honor to ride on one of these floats... so I couldn't help but wonder why there was a woman on this one texting to god knows who when she should have been waving to the crowds...

Ice cream shakes BEFORE they went home for dinner


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