Monday, January 7, 2013

Three Kings Day

On a warm Saturday evening everyone in the village was standing in front of the town hall, looking out to sea,  listening to Christmas songs in Catalan. It was the Night of the Three Kings and they were soon to arrive by traditional mallorcan boats. Three Kings Day or Epiphany is a big holiday in Catalunya, and the time that presents are received rather than at Christmas. Boys and girls lined the dock holding lovely, multicoloured paper lanterns, many of them homemade, to light the way for the Kings.

Finally, the Christmas lights on the first boat are spotted. Very quickly the boat docks to the sound of clapping and loud cheers. The White King has arrived with his retinue. His face, long hair, curly beard and clothing are all white. Slowly he makes his way along the dock greeting and chatting to the boys and girls and their families. Another cheer goes up and the Black King clambers out of his boat, again accompanied by his retinue. He is dressed in red robes, a red turban complete with feather and lovely, glittery eyeshadow. He too greets everyone on the dock. Finally, the Ginger King arrives with ginger curly hair, beard, eyeshadow and golden clothing. He is really the Oriental King, I just call him the Ginger King.

Eventually, the Kings and their retinues make their way to the town hall and climb up to the first floor balcony, where they are introduced by the mayor. Each king addressed the audience with various messages, "You shall be good kids." The crowd applauds. "You shall tidy your rooms," Lots of laughter. After more speeches the Kings made their way out to the street for more photo ops and chats slowly moving towards the ballroom. Each child in the village is called up to the stage to receive their present from one of the Kings. Finally, it is all over. Everyone heads home for dinner and more importantly to leave out some sweet wine and pastries for the visiting Kings, when they visit overnight to leave present for everyone in the family. Sometimes they even come with their camels.

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