Night of the Three Kings: Parade, history and curiosities

The origin of the celebration of Twelfth Night (Three Kings night) from 5 to January 6 goes back to the ancient times for being an important day in which increases the brightness after the winter solstice of December 25, thereafter the days begin to get longer each time.

Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar are the names of the Three Kings.

melchor-gaspar-baltasar

Night of the Three Kings on January the 5th

In the past the Three Kings distributed roles regarding giving out gifts, unfortunately for Balthazar he was in charge of giving coal (the real one, not sweet) stones or wood to children who had not done well. Gaspar gave candy or nuts and Melchior brought clothes and shoes; the gifts of those times were adapted to the needs of the moment.

three-kings

The Three Kings, as such, are not very widespread and are celebrated only in some Spanish-speaking countries, mainly because of Father Christmas or Santa Claus has prevailed, although both have the same origin.

There is variety in representing the Three Kings in Europe, in countries such as Italy its ‘La Befana’, a witch who seeks redemption and is responsible for bringing the good children presents and scare the bad ones.

In other countries like Germany is just a special day for Catholics, unlike in Spain where everyone celebrates. In Germany on that day there are no gifts or family meals; it is a day of charitable action.

Tradition says that the one who decides whether to give coal to the children is the Carbonilla, a page of the Three Kings.

Will they bring lots of charcoal? At Malagaweb.com we expect that you have behaved well and if they bring you charcoal, that is the sweet one you can eat.

The parade in 2017

The Three Kings parade in 2017 bring up to 12 tons of sweets which they throw everywhere from the cars. This year the parade is organized in three main blocks: Fantasy, Christmas and Royal Courtship.

Opening cars called Fantasy parade comes with characters of Star Wars and Alice in Wonderland among many others.

The Christmas cars parade comes with the royal pages, a ballet, angels decorated cars and shepherds next to a moving nativity scene.

Finally the Royal Courtship formation with acrobats and the decorated cars of Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar kings.

Traffic roads will be closed in Malaga centre due to the cavalcade from 12 at night on January 4 to the ending of the parade on January 5th.

Parade of the Three Kings – January activities

Melchor kingThe procession of the Three Kings is a mainly Spanish tradition. The first parade which is recorded took place in 1876 in Alicante and thanks to its success it was expanding rapidly to other cities. In 1917 took place the first Parade in Andalusia and today is a typical established tradition throughout the province.

In the beginning it was a day set for charity and the Parades were responsible for collecting toys for disadvantaged children; with the passage of time this healthy habit was disappearing giving way to the typical candy being thrown from the coaches just before Twelfth Night when children wait for their gifts.

Three kings parade in Malaga: Itineraries in January

The three kings parade in Malaga has an itinerary different from other years because of the subway works.

There are paid chairs available for those who want to see the 3 Kings Parade from a comfortable chair. Price for chairs are as follows:

  • 9€ first row sit
  • 8€ second row sit
  • 4€ third row sit at Paseo del Parque only.

If you want to buy a chair for the Three Kings Parade you can do online (only in Spanish  at http://www.mientrada.net/) or by phone 902 646 289 (high paid call).

Beginning of the parade is at 5:00pm from Malaga Town Hall in January the 5th.

Itinerary of the parade

5:00pm Parade will officially begin at Malaga Town Hall.

  • Paseo del Parque
  • Plaza de la Marina
  • Rotonda del Marqués de Larios
  • Alameda Principal
  • Mercado de Atarazanas

Detailed itinerary in Malaga: Avenida de Cervantes, Plaza del General Torrijos, Paseo del Parque, Plaza de La Marina, Alameda Principal, Puerta del Mar, Atarazanas, Plaza de Arriola, Pasillo de Santa Isabel, Carretería, Álamos y Plaza de la Merced.

Parade itinerary in Torremolinos

4pm – Parade officially begins in Blas Infante Square.

  • Avda. Rafael Quintana
  • C/ Europa
  • Avda. Isabel Manoja
  • Avda. Los Manantiales
  • Plaza Costa del Sol
  • Avda. Joan Miró
  • Calle doctor Jiménez Encina
  • C/García de la Serna
  • Avda. Rafael Quintana
  • Ayuntamiento de Torremolinos

Parade itinerary in Benalmádena

At 4:30pm begins the parade in Benalmadena Pueblo

  • Recinto Ferial los Nadales
  • Calle San Miguel
  • Avenida del Chorrillo
  • Avenida Juan Luís Peralta
  • Calle Jerónimo Garriga
  • Calle Lomillas
  • Plaza de España
  • Calle Real
  • Avenida Juan Luís Peralta

Parade itinerary in Fuengirola

4pm: In Fuengirola the Three Kings arrive by helicopter.

  • Calle Mallorca
  • Avenida de Mijas
  • Avenida Juan Gómez “Juanito”
  • Calle Camilo José Cela
  • Calle Molino de viento
  • Avenida Condes de San Isidro
  • Avda. Matías Sáenz de Tejada
  • Avenida Ramón y Cajal
  • Avda. de Los Boliches

Parade itinerary in Marbella

11am – Arrival to Quiron Hospital of the Three Kings.

12am: Arrival by boat to Marbella marina and parade by old cars.

6pm: Official parade with the itinerary below:

  • Avda. Severo Ochoa
  • Avda. Ramón y Cajal
  • Avda. Ricardo Soriano
  • Plaza Monseñor Rodrigo Bocanegra

Parade itinerary in Nerja

4pm: Arrival of the three kings to the town hall.

5pm: Official parade.

  • Parque Verano Azul
  • C/ Jaén
  • C/ Diputación
  • Calle Granada
  • Calle San Miguel
  • Plaza Cantarero
  • Pintada
  • Puerta del Mar
  • Finaliza en Balcón de Europa.

Roscon de Reyes: History and curiosities

Roscón de ReyesThe origin of eating a ¡Roscon de Reyes¡ for Twelfth Night dates back to Roman times; the Romans dedicated festivals to the god Saturn to celebrate the increase in brightness after the winter solstice. During the celebration were baked round cakes of figs, dates and honey which were enjoying all social classes including slaves.

From the third century was introduced the dry bean into the sweet and who got it was considered king of kings for a short period of time; this tradition continued in use and there are records of its use during the Middle Ages with small variations.

At present there are usually a treasure and a bean inside each cake being the one who the gets the bean responsible for paying it and the one who gets the treasure is the king of the house for a day.

Raúl G.T
Ask me

Raúl G.T

Developer and content editor at Malagaweb.com
Travel blogger, web developer and content editor. Author of many of the travel guides and tips available online about Andalucia, Malaga and Spain.
Raúl G.T
Ask me

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Travel blogger, web developer and content editor. Author of many of the travel guides and tips available online about Andalucia, Malaga and Spain.

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