Night of the Three Kings: Parades, history and curiosities

The names of the 3 kings are Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. Although we Spaniards are very used to these names, they are not that popular outside Spain.

melchor-gaspar-baltasar

While in other countries is Santa Claus the one bringing gifts, here the traditional Three Kings who visit Spain and Malaga every year bring gifts in a special second night, especially for children.

Night of the Three Kings on January the 5th

The Catholic tradition tells that the Three Kings traveled from the East to bring gold, incense and myrrh to the newborn baby Jesus. With time, some symbolic elements have been added to the story as well as the custom of celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings during the day of the Epiphany (January 6).

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 during the year. 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, the ancient celebration of the  winter solstice.

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.

malagacar

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.

About the Three Kings Parade

The procession of the Three Kings (Cabalgata de Reyes) 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 was 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; after many years 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.

Roscon de Reyes sweet

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 they baked round cakes of figs, dates and honey which all social classes including slaves used to enjoy.

From the third century was introduced the dry bean into the sweet. 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 is 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.

Three Kings Parades

Melchor king

The Three Kings parade in 2020 (Cabalgata de Reyes in Spanish) bring up to 12 tons of sweets which they throw everywhere from the cars. Pasts year the parade was organized in three main blocks: Fantasy, Christmas and Royal Courtship.

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 Parade from 12 at night on January 4 to the ending of the parade on January 5th.

Will it rain the 5th of January in 2020?

There is a 5% chance of rain on January 5, this probability will range from 10% in the morning to 12% at night.

It is quite unlikely that it will rain during Three Kings’ Night in 2020.

Buying ticket for chairs

Remember in Spanish you can ask about the ‘Cabalgata de Reyes in Malaga’ if you need orientation.

There are private chairs available for those who want to see the 3 Kings Parade from a comfortable place. Price for chairs rised in 2018 and were as follows:

  • 12€ first row sit
  • 9€ second row sit
  • 7€ third row sit at Paseo del Parque only.
  • 6€ fourth row sit. (new in 2018)
  • 5€ fifth row sit. (new in 2020)

If you want to buy a chair for the Three Kings Parade you can do online (only in Spanish  at https://www.mientrada.net/evento/cabalgata-de-reyes-2020/) or by phone 902 646 289 (902 are high paid number calls, beware).

Beginning of the parade is at 6:00 pm from Malaga Town Hall in January the 5th.

Three Kings Parade in Malaga

Parade will officially begin at Malaga Town Hall.

  • Avenida 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
  • Calle Álamos
  • Plaza de la Merced

Parade itinerary map and parking places

*We don’t know what parking places will be closed due traffic interruptions from 12 at night on January 4 to the ending of the parade on January 5th.

Below are some other parades although from past year, they should still have the same itinerary.


Cavalcades and schedules in other places of Málaga

In addition, the different districts of Malaga will have a cavalcade. The itineraries below could change from the last year:

Eastern District

On January 3rd, the royal page will collect the letters from the children in the Parish of Our Lady of Sorrows from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

4 January from 12 to 14.30 and from 15.00 to 18.30 there will be a family party in which children can participate in different activities in Parque de la Alegría.

4th January from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm: Parade of kings from the Plaza Virgen Milagrosa.

January 4th at 17.30, there will be another parade from Miraflores School.

Complete itinerary: Plaza Virgen Milagrosa, calle Quitapenas, Banda del Mar, Mar, Miguel Moya, Alonso Carrillo de Albornoz, Ortega Munilla and Avenida Pío Baroja before ending at CEIP Valle Inclán where a children’s party will take place with snowfall included.

Parade of Three Kings in Cruz de Humilladero

The parade will take place on January 4th between 5pm and 7pm after the arrival by helicopter of the Three Kings at Doctor Fleming Public School.

Complete itinerary: C/ Fernández Fermina, Conde de Guadalhorce, Cruz del Humilladero, Camino de San Rafael, C/ Alfambra, C/ La Unión, C/ Antonio Luis Carrión, Paseo de los Tilos, Cruz del Humilladero, Conde de Guadalhorce.

Parade in Churriana

On January 4, the Royal Postmen will collect the children’s letters from the San Julián Citizen Centre, the Neighbourhood Association and the headquarters of the Almar Neighbourhood Association.

Parade on January 5 at 5:30 pm from the Municipal Market and ends at 7:30 pm.

Itinerary of the parade: Teresa Blasco, Torremolinos, San Javier, Enrique Van Dulken, Monsálvez, Vega and Plaza de la Inmaculada streets.

At the end there will be a party with hot chocolate where children can greet the Three Kings.

Carretera de Cadiz

On 3 January the festival begins with activities that will also be held in the Parque del Oeste and Parque Litoral from 11.00 to 3.00 pm. There will be an artificial ice rink, Christmas train and inflatable castles among other activities aimed at children.

At 10.30 am from Jucar Street there will be a parade organized by the Neighborhood Association as every year and will end in Parque del Oeste.

Parade in Campanillas

4 January: Royal Postman in Beltrán Lucena Cultural Centre from 5pm to 7pm. This is the time for the children to hand in their letters to the Three Kings.

The Campanillas parade will take place at 5.30 pm from Tiziano Street and will end at the Patio of the José Calderón School.


Parade itinerary in Torremolinos

The start of the parade will take place on January 5th in Torremolinos. There will be 10 carriages and 3 royal thrones.

Around five tons of candy will be distributed and it will end at 8:00 pm in the Town Hall of Torremolinos.

5pm – Parade officially begins in Blas Infante Square.

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

Three Kings Parade in Benalmadena

The magic of the Three Kings will allow them to visit the 3 urban centres of this municipality and parade while throwing candies.

Benalmadena Pueblo

4:00 pm Official start of the Parade in Benalmadena Pueblo.

Itinerary: Los Nadales Fairgrounds, Calle San Miguel, Avenida del Chorrillo, Avenida Juan Luís Peralta, Calle Jerónimo Garriga, Calle Lomillas, Plaza de España, Calle Real, Avenida Juan Luís Peralta.

Arroyo de la Miel

7.00 pm Official departure from Arroyo de la Miel.

Itinerary: Parking Tívoli World, Avda. de Tívoli, Rotonda Nuevitas, Avda. de la Estación, Avda. de la Constitución, C/ Las Flores, C/ Sierrasol, descent through Avda. Inmaculada Concepción, Avda. García Lorca, C/ Andalucía, C/ Blas Infante, Avda. de la Estación (End of route).

Puerto Marina

11.30 Arrival at Puerto Marina

Itinerary: C/ Fragata, Avda. del Puerto Deportivo, Avda. Alay, Avda. Antonio Machado, García Lorca, Avda. de la Constitución, Avda de la Estación, Avda. Tívoli, Avda. Arroyo Hondo, Avda. Juan Luis Peralta, Town Hall.

Parade itinerary in Fuengirola

The arrival of the Three Kings will be in style, no less than by helicopter arriving shortly before the parade at the Elola Social and Sports Complex.

There will be a total of 25 carriages in this year’s parade in Fuengirola, which will take place on 4th January alongw the main streets and avenues. Gluten-free jelly beans will be distributed.

Start at 5.00 pm at Calle Mallorca.

Complete itinerary: Mallorca Street, Mijas Avenue, Juan Gómez ‘Juanito’ Avenue, Camino de Coín, Condes de San Isidro Avenue, Matías Sáenz de Tejada Avenue, Ramón y Cajal Avenue and Boliches Avenue, ending at the monument to the Victims of Terrorism.

*Traffic interruptions are expected in the area of Condes de San Isidro – Santa Amalia Avenue.


Three Kings Parade in Mijas

The Three Kings will arrive in Mijas with the purpose of visiting the three urban centres of Mijas for the enjoyment of the little ones:

Las Lagunas

From 5:00 pm the parade will leave from the Parque de María Zambrano (lateral calle Velázquez), Miguel Hernández Avenue, Antonio Machado Street, Margarita Avenue, Camino Viejo de Coín, San Cristóbal Street, San Javier Street, La Unión Street, Mijas Avenue, Camino del Albero, Denmark Avenue, Geranio Street and arrival to Andalusia Park.

Mijas Pueblo

At 4:30 pm from the Virgen de la Peña square, Virgen de la Peña avenue, Avenida de la Peña, Avenida de Méjico, Plaza de la Paz, Málaga street, Plaza de la Libertad, Málaga street, Constitución square, Avenida del Compas and finish in Virgen de la Peña square.

Cala de Mijas

At 5:00 pm from the Cultural Centre of Mijas, Marbella Street, Torreón Street, Torremolinos Street, Bulevar, Marbella Street, Cártama Street and will finish in the Butibamba Park.


Three Kings Parade in Marbella

The parade will be made up of 27 carriages that will make the usual route. As a new addition this year there is artificial snow for the enjoyment of children.

There are a total of 4 parades taking place on the 4th and 5th of January in Marbella, San Pedro de Alcantara, Nueva Andalucia and Las Chapas.

4 de enero

  • At 12.30 pm – Camp of the Three Wise Men at 12.30 pm next to the Maria Auxiliadora School until 2 pm.
  • 4.00 pm – Parade of the Royal Guard from Plaza San Bernabe to Puerto Deportivo Virgen del Carmen.
  • 5.00 pm – The Three Wise Men arrive in Marbella by air and parade to the Plaza de la Iglesia.
    Itinerary: Puerto Deportivo, Paseo Maritimo, Avenida Severo Ochoa, Avenida Nabeul, Plaza Puente Malaga, Calle Arte, Calle Salinas, Calle Trinidad and Plaza de la Iglesia.

5th January

  • 11 am – Visit of the Three Wise Men to the Hospital Quiron and Hospital de la Costa del Sol.
  • 12.30 pm – Visit of the Three Wise Men to the Marbella Cultural Society at Paseo de la Alameda.
  • 6 pm – Horseback riding along Avenida Ochoa, Avenida Ramón y Cajal, Avenida Ricardo Soriano and Plaza Monsignor Rodrigo Bocanegra.

San Pedro de Alcantara

At midday there will be a parade of the Three Kings in historic cars through the streets of the municipality from Avenida Oriental, through Calle Castilla and Calle San Miguel and Avenida de la Constitución to Aspandem, where they will visit guests at their residence.

Complete itinerary: Avenida Pablo ruiz Picasso, Marqués del Duero roundabout, Lagasca, Luis Braille, Pepe Osorio, Avenida Oriental, Calle Revilla and Plaza de la Iglesia.

Parade in Ojen

On 5 January it starts at 5pm from the Ojén petrol station to Plaza de Andalucía.

Itinerary: Carretera Street, Old Cemetery, Pablo Picasso Avenue, Alberca Street, Carrera Street and Andalucía Square.


Parade in Estepona

Like every year the Three Kings’ Cavalcade in Estepona will take place on the 5th of January. It will be from 5pm when the kings begin their parade for the enjoyment of all the children from the Avenida de Andalucia to the Orchidarium of Estepona around 8pm.


Parade itinerary in Nerja

The Three Kings will arrive at Nerja Town Hall on 5th January for the enjoyment of the youngest members of the family and those who wish to attend this event. The departure is at 5.30pm from Parque Verano Azul and ends at the Balcón de Europa, where, as every year, they will be given the key to the city to open all the doors and be able to give the gifts to all the children in the municipality.

  • Parque Verano Azul
  • Calle Jaén
  • Diputación
  • Calle Granada
  • San Miguel
  • Plaza Cantarero
  • Pintada
  • Puerta del Mar
  • Balcón de Europa

Three Kings in Maro

6th January: Visit of the Three Kings at 12.00 through the streets of Maro to the Church Square.

Parade in Frigiliana

As every year, the Three Kings’ parade will take place on January 5th and will start at 4pm.

Its itinerary starts in the Plaza de la Iglesia and ends in the popular Plaza de las Tres Culturas.

  • Plaza de la Iglesia
  • Calle Real
  • Plaza del Ingenio
  • Calle San Sebastián
  • Plaza Amparo Guerrero
  • Paseo Ramón Castilla
  • Plaza de las Tres Culturas

Parade in Torre del Mar

There are already details for the Cavalcade of the Kings of Torre del Mar in 2020; it will be on January 5 from 5 pm.

In addition, on 2 and 3 January the Royal Postman will be at Calle Princesa from 4.30 pm to collect letters from children who have not yet sent them to their Majesties. There will be Roscón de Reyes, children’s workshops and an inflatable castle for the enjoyment of children.

  • Salida desde Ayuntamiento en calle Manuel Azuaga.
  • Calle Rodrigo Vivar
  • Octavio López
  • Paseo Marítimo de Levante
  • Paseo de Larios
  • Calle San Martín
  • Calle Ros Alférez
  • Virgen de las Angustias
  • Calle del Mar
  • Paseo de Poniente hasta glorieta.
  • Avenida de Andalucía
  • Calle Princesa
  • Plaza de la Paz, where there will be a living nativity scene.

Three Kings in Velez-Malaga

The magic of the Three Kings will make them possible to parade on January 5th in Velez-Malaga for the enjoyment of the children. They will start on foot from the Beniel Palace at 5.15pm to the Plaza de la Constitución.

The official parade will start at 5.30pm from Plaza de Las Indias.

  • Parque Reñidero.
  • Plaza Reyes Católicos.
  • Calle Canalejas.
  • Plaza de Las Carmelitas.
  • Calle Cristo.
  • Avenida Vivar Téllez.
  • Calle Molino Velasco.
  • Camino Viejo de Málaga.
  • Camino de Málaga.
  • Plaza de las Carmelitas.

Parade itinerary in Ronda

The Parade is scheduled for January 5th at 6pm from Martinez Astein Avenue. A show designed especially for children of all ages that ends with a visit to a living Nativity scene in the square.

  • Avenida Martínez Astein.
  • Carrera Espinel.
  • Calle Virgen de la Paz.
  • Puente Nuevo.
  • Calle Armiñán.
  • Cuesta de las Imágenes.
  • Ruedo Alameda Square in the San Francisco district.

Three Kings’ Parade in Coin

The parade of the Three Kings will leave the Montesol building at 6pm, going through the streets of Coín as is the tradition. There will be fun especially for the children who visit the town on this day.

Itinerary: The parade will go through the streets of Coín and will end in the Plaza Alameda.


Itinerary of the Three Kings in Torrox

The Three Kings, thanks to their magic, will be able to visit Torrox on January 5 at 4pm. They will arrive for the enjoyment of children. The parade will depart from El Morche.

  • Corrida de Frutos González
  • El Morche Promenade
  • Exit to N-340 to Avenida de El Faro
  • Ascent to Torrox village
  • Arrival at Avenida de Cómpeta
  • Walk up to Plaza de la Constitución to welcome the children.
Raúl G.T
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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.

4 thoughts on “Night of the Three Kings: Parades, history and curiosities”

  1. Hi,
    I could not find info about the time the parade starts in Torremolinos.
    Thanks for valuable info!
    Elisabeth

    1. Hello Isabel,
      Im sorry for the late reply, I was out for holiday.
      The starting time is in the guide above every year; when there is no starting time means we are still editing the article because there is no official confirmation yet, but this was not the case.

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