As a matter of fact the most famous and important Christmas tradition in Spain is that of Three Kings Day or Los Reyes, which takes place on January 6.
Los Reyes is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem, and in Spain these kings, or Magi, take the place of Santa Claus or Father Christmas as the ones who bring gifts to the children. Although it has been noticed that the presence of so many foreign residents, especially on the Andalucian coastline, has resulted in changing the custom a little and some children may get their presents twice so as not to be left out. I still remember that not long ago when my children went out to play on Boxing Day they were enviably observed by their Spanish friends.
The celebration of Los Reyes actually begins the day before, on January 5th. Bakeries make and sell a special cake called Rosca de Reyes. This is a ring-shaped cake into which little toys have been baked. Anyone who finds one of these toys in a piece of cake is sure to have good luck in the coming year, so be careful not to swallow one or crack your teeth on it.
Most towns and villages in Spain have a procession on the night of January 5th, when costumed riders on colourful floats throw sweets and small trinkets to the crowds of screaming kids that line the streets.
On the night of January 5th, children across Spain set out shoes on their familyÂ’s windowsills. The shoes are filled with straw, barley or carrots for the MagisÂ’ horses or camels, this is the equivalent of leaving some cakes and milk for Santa Claus. On the morning of January 6th the children awake to find the horse and camel food gone and in its place the Â“MagiÂ” or Three Kings have filled the shoes with gifts and presents