The Three Kings Day is one of the highlights of the Barcelona Christmas Season. Its name in Catalan is Dia dels Tres Reis d’Orient, and is also known as The Epiphany in religious terms, and happens on the sixth day of January.
It is a major event in the Catholic Church’s Nativity agenda. Three Kings Day marks the arrival of the Three Wise Men of the Orient to the birthplace of Jesus at his stable in Bethlehem. They came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the newborn messiah, but in Barcelona, they arrive to give gifts to the city’s inhabitants.
For local kids here in Barcelona, Three Kings Day is even more special, as the focus of the day is on them and not really the grown-ups. Rather like the traditional Father Christmas character in Northern Europe, children only receive gifts if they have been good all year long! The city’s children also have to write a letter to the King’s Pages ahead of the Three Kings arrival to ensure they get the gifts they desire.
On the 5th of January, the Three Kings arrive in Barcelona with a spectacular street parade called La Cavalcada dels Reis d’Orient – which is a procession to symbolise the arrival of the Three Kings into Bethlehem mounted on their camels, each bearing their gifts for the baby Jesus.
This year, they will arrive by boat at 4:00pm at the Moll de la Fusta. After a welcome statement by city officials, the Three Kings begin a parade along the city streets. This year, the Three Kings parade starts on avinguda Marquès de l’Argentera at 6pm, snaking its way through the city, finishing at the Magic Fountains of Montjuïc at around 9:00pm. Check here their route.
The Three Kings parade features the Three Kings in their carnival style float among a whole collection of other floats and musical attractions, where the performers are laden with candy and sweets to throw at the children who catch them, normally in umbrellas that are held upside down.
After the parade has finished and before the children go to bed, they have to prepare some food and water for the Three Kings and their camels to take refreshment. Normally unable to sleep with excitement, contemplating the next morning, the children will eventually settle to sleep and wake early the following morning, when they can see and open their gifts on Three Kings Day.
After the morning’s activities are over, the whole family will settle down for a very special lunch. It is normally a four course sitting and traditional menus will begin with a buffet of tapas followed by a special soup and then a third course of meat or freshly cooked fish.
Then the pièce de résistance is served – Tortell de Reis (King’s Cake) – a puffy, circular, marzipan sponge cake filled with cream, resembling a King’s crown. In fact there will be a crown in the centre and the cake is topped off with dried fruits symbolizing a crown’s jewels.
But the King’s Day tradition doesn’t stop there, because inserted into the cake are two objects – a bean and a figurine of the baby Jesus. Whoever recovers the figurine gets to wear the crown and is called King for the day (also signaling that that person will have a very lucky year) and whoever gets the bean unfortunately has to pay for the cake!
As you can see, Three King’s Day will be a very special day indeed for the city’s children. So why not make your stay in Barcelona just as special by renting a luxury apartment during your stay. We have a wide selection of apartments to rent all over the city, so why not opt for one on the Three Kings parade route? See here for our selection of beautiful places to rent during these unique celebrations.