Christmas with children in Spain? Fun is guaranteed!
On 5 January each year, Spain’s villages, towns and cities receive the traditional, joyful visit of the Three Wise Men of the East. We are talking about the Three Kings, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, who bring good cheer and presents to children at Christmas. Bring your children to Spain and discover our traditions together, as well as the latest attractions for the little ones at this time of year.
If you are thinking of taking advantage of the Christmas holidays for a trip to Spain, then be sure to bring the family, because here the celebrations go on until 6 January and children are the centre of attention. Here are some ideas for family fun:
Letter to the Three Kings
To make sure your children experience our traditions to the full, there is one thing they should not miss: the letter to the Three Kings that children all over Spain write. Get them to write down a list of presents that they would like to receive this year for being good. Then, they just have to give their letter in before 5 January to one of the royal pages at shopping centres and city squares around Spain. What is more, simply walking around the streets will be great fun for them, because they are decorated with coloured lights and Christmas trees, and all the shop windows are filled with toys.
The most important moment comes on the afternoon of 5 January, when Three Kings Parades get underway throughout Spain. It is an exciting experience, representing the journey made by the Three Kings on their camels, following the star to the Bethlehem stable where Jesus was born. Take your children to this spectacle, where a large number of floats carry not only the Three Kings, but also a host of weird and wonderful characters who throw sweets into the crowd and will have your children dreaming of Christmas. Whichever destination you choose, you will find a traditional parade. Which will you go for? The grandiose celebrations in Madrid, those in Barcelona where the Three Kings arrive by boat, or those of Alcoy (Alicante province) Spain’s oldest? Furthermore, here is a tip to make the experience even more enjoyable: take an umbrella, turn it upside down and your children will be able to use it to catch loads of sweets!
Presents and the “roscón”
According to tradition, on the night of 5 January, children should go to bed early, but not before leaving their shoes out so that the Three Kings can fill them with presents when they come to the house. What is more, in some households people leave a small glass of anisette to give the Kings strength on their long journey. The following day is the feast of the Three Kings, and children get up early to enjoy their presents. Get everything organised so that your kids can enjoy the fun too. Furthermore, on 6 January most restaurants and hotels in Spain prepare special menus accompanied by the typical seasonal dessert: roscón de Reyes (Epiphany Cake). Another anecdote? All these sweets (many of which are filled with cream, truffle, etc.) have a surprise hidden inside. Whoever finds it will have a year filled with happiness.
Theme parks decked out for the holidays
Besides the Three Kings Parade, there is plenty more fun guaranteed for the little ones throughout the Christmas period. Spain’s main theme parks are transformed. They are decorated with lights, and feature magic shows and Christmas characters that your kids will love.
There is plenty for you and your family to choose from: Isla Mágica in Seville (Andalusia) Not only will you find its normal attractions based on the discovery of America, but also snowmen, story-tellers and a fun karaoke attraction. In Madrid there is the Warner Brothers Park, where characters like Tweety Pie can be found looking more Christmassy than ever. If you are heading for Barcelona, don’t miss Port Aventura with its mascots, Woody and Winnie, ice-skating shows and its talking tree. Another good choice? Terra Mítica, in Benidorm (Alicante province), where, along with attractions based on ancient civilisations like Egypt, there are also special Christmas menus to be had.
Remember to take a camera for the best souvenirs of your Christmas fun. Besides everything mentioned above, in Spain you will also find living cribs, and other traditional characters such as El Olentzero in the Basque Country (a coal merchant who also takes children presents on 25 December, Christmas day)… Come and get carried away by all the joy of one of the year’s most special holidays.
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