Last week was Reyes, the day Spanish kids most look forward to the whole year, because it means PRESENTS!
The Reyes Magos – Baltazar (Moor), Melchior (white beard) and Gaspar (the other one, although just to confuse, our Gaspar also had flowing facial hair). They, along with the Reina (Queen), ride around the local town or city in style on specially decorated floats, with their helpers, throwing caramelos (sweets – in this case, the small boiled types – why do you think there are so many dental clinics in Spain?), footballs, and small Chino-type toys into the crowd. (Presents proper are delivered to your house by the Reyes that night, who arrive on their camels, so it’s nice to leave out some refreshment – a glass of milk.)
Floats are usually colour-themed, or take popular TV characters. These snaps are of our town’s Reyes offering; next year, I’m planning to decamp to Seville, which has 34 floats, to our five (smurfs – the Spanish love their pitufos). Think local amateur theatre v West End musical. Equal amount of enthusiasm and imagination, but on a different scale, with a much bigger budget (yes, austerity, blah, but this is the biggest cabalgata – parade – of the year. Happy, wowed citizens on Reyes is an essential element of the political agenda).
And one very happy little boy – which is what it’s all about, after all.