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Spanish Customs

The Three Kings

The best loved tradition among kids during Spanish Christmas is the Three Kings.
Santa Claus is quite well known, and he delivers toys and presents, but the real stars are the Three Kings.

These Three Kings are the ones who followed a star to meet the new King of Kings and offered him three presents: gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn child in Belén (Bethelem).

When December comes, in Spain and Latin America all the boys and girls start to write their letter to the Three Kings or to their favourite King: Melchor, Gaspar or Baltasar.

They write about the things they would like to receive on the morning of the 6th of January, and also about their behaviour during the year. Their Majesties travel by camel and due to the fact that they come from the East, they take a long time to arrive in Spain.

When they are here, they visit all the cities and villages, and hear the kids requests, after a spectacular parade.

On the night of the 5th, the kids put their shoes in front of the door before going to bed so that the Kings will know how many children live there. They also put out something to eat and drink for Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar, and water and grass for their camels (true, they can last a month or more without drinking water, but that night they have a lot of work to do, so they need extra water and food).

On the morning of the 6th, people find their presents inside and outside the shoes (its very unusual for their Majesties bring coal lumps because no child really behaves so badly, and many people say its not true that naughty girls and boys get only coal and no toys). The food and drink has gone from the plates and glasses, and the camels have quenched their thirst. The children start playing with their toys, waiting for the next 5th of January to come around.


The Spanish love a party and its true to say that when you live in Spain there is a fiesta going on SOMEWHERE nearby! Celebrations for religious reasons - remember Spain is a Catholic country - to commemorate independance, Moors & Christians, local holidays - it seems every township/region has its own special occasions - birthdays, in fact its just about ANY excuse to have a party and celebrate life!


Weddings are big affairs in Spain and you are likely to find the whole extended family and entire village turns out to celebrate (expect at least 200 guests at traditional bodas).

Some of the customs are similar, such as throwing rice, but others are less familiar. In line with most social events in Spain, most Spanish weddings start late (often the ceremony wont start until 7 p.m.) and finish very, very late (or early, depending on how you look at it). At many weddings, the men will be offered a cigar and the women a little present (usually something which looks and smells nice). If you are not used to cigars, be careful, they can be pretty strong. Spanish weddings can be quite noisy with plenty of loud firecrackers going off once the happy couple emerge from the church. There is no best man and there are no speeches. Also, the grooms mother accompanies him down the aisle. Finally, tread carefully. Those old churches look quaint but the floorboards on the aisles have had some serious wear over the centuries. Nothing spoils a marriage more than an overweight foreigner going through the floorboards


(or fútbol in Spanish, a word that comes from football) is much more than just a game in Spain. Its almost a religion for the fans.
Week after week millions of Spaniards passionately follow the soccer results. The country stops and the streets empty whenever an important partido de fútbol (soccer match) is being played. For those who dont live it with passion this is the perfect moment to go to the cinema, walk or do the shopping. None of these non soccer lovers go to a bar or a cafeteria: They are packed with people watching the partido on TV, listening to the radio and shouting. Soccer is the Deporte Rey (King of Sports) in Spain and, as someone said, a low cost therapy to counter the problems of everyday life.