Dia de los Reyes Magos or Three Kings Day
The 6th of January is the Dia de los Reyes Magos or Three Kings Day. Every city in Spain celebrates Three Kings Day with a parade on the evening of the 5th of January. In Spanish, this is called la Cabalgata de Reyes.
Here, in Santiago de Compostela, the Three Kings Day parade begins in Praza da Merce, wanders through old town, and finishes in Plaza Obradoiro in front of the Cathedral. Old-town is blocked off while the spectacular lighted floats and lighted costumes illuminate the night sky celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings. It is a popular family event as the Kings throw candy to the children. At the end of the parade, children can also meet the Three Kings.
In Spain, Three Kings Day has traditionally been the most important day that culminates the Christmas holidays.
The Three Kings
The Three Kings are celebrated like Santa Claus. Children write a letter to the Kings asking for toys. Many cities even set up locations where the kids can deposit their letter to the “Royal Mailman” who takes the letters to the Three Kings.
On the night of January 5th, children clean their shoes and leave them out with a little snack for the Kings and their camels. During the night, the Kings bring them presents if they have been good during the year; or a piece of coal if they have not been good. (Sounds familiar, eh?)
On January 6th, people eat a Róscon de Reyes, a sweet bread topped with candies and sometimes filled with fresh cream. You will find inside a small surprise, normally a Jesus or other religious figurine. The person who finds the surprise becomes King for the day.
Below is our favorite recipe for this delicious holiday treat
Róscon de Reyes, Three Kings Day
- 2½ cups Bread flour
- 1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tablespoons Rum
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2 tablespoons Milk
- 1 Orange zest
- 1 cube Compressed yeast
- 1 teaspoon Orange blossom water
- Salt to taste
For the topping
- Sliced almonds
- Candied fruit
- Granulated sugar
- Pour 2 3/4 cups flour in a large bowl. Make a hole in the center and add the sugar, yeast dissolved in warm water, rum, milk, orange zest, orange blossom water and butter. Mix lightly. Add one of the eggs and a pinch of salt, then knead.
- Once the ingredients are combined, put the dough on a surface floured with the remaining flour. Continue kneading until the dough is elastic and doesn’t stick to the surface. Add flour little by little until it is a sticky dough.
- Form a ball with the dough and make a hole in the center. Carefully, stretch and shape the Roscón. Place it on a baking tray, in a warm place and let it rise for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Beat the other egg and paint the Roscón. Add the topping on top, like the candied fruit, sliced almonds, and granulated sugar.
- Bake the Roscón for 15 to 20 minutes at 400°F or until it is golden and cooked through. Let it cool for a bit before adding cream to the middle and eating it.