Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Three Kings bring gifts for all good children

The weather has been beautiful lately with warm days, blue skies and little or no wind. This weather is perfect for the arrival of the Three Kings. We watched from our terrace as the three traditional fishing boats, accompanied by the search and rescue boat, rounded the point to sail into the village. It was time to head into town.

All the villagers, young and old, lined the water’s edge to greet the Three Kings as they came ashore. This was also the signal for the fireworks to commence. One after the other, Melchor, Gazpar and Balthasar, and their retinues, sailed up to the dock and waded into the cheering crowds. The African king  had different clothes this year. I think his makeup person overdid it as you couldn't make out his features at all. Their majesties paraded through the crowd before going to the ajuntament  - town hall - balcony. Normally the mayor and each king makes a speech with much hilarity but this year it seemed that the microphone wasn't working properly. Someone asked if everyone had been good. They had, and the retinue headed off to the ballroom accompanied by villagers holding some beautiful home made lanterns.

In the ballroom the Kings call up each child in the village to receive a present. The place is always jammed and it is always a little chaotic. On January 5th children are supposed to leave their shoes out to receive the King's gifts. However, nowadays some families are actually turning to the Christmas tree as the place to pile gifts as the Kings’ spending power grows and shoes can no longer support the weight or volume of the their delivery.

Breakfast is a special occasion on January 6th with the Three Kings’ Cake the centre of attention. This is a sweet bread that is adorned with dried fruits, glace cherries and sugar. Inside, bakers have hidden a small prize wrapped in paper as well as a bean. The one who finds the lucky prize is supposed to be King or Queen for the day. A gold paper crown is provided with the cake. He who ends up with the unlucky bean is expected to pay for next year’s Kings’ Cake. We were at our baker's in Figueres yesterday and the huge long display case was filled with all sizes of these cakes. In fact they were being snapped up like "hot cakes." I don't think you can eat too much of them as they are very sweet.

January 6th is a very special day for families, much like Christmas Day in North America or northern European countries. The village was very quiet in the morning but, happy days, the Nautica was open for our morning cortado. You just can't beat sitting outside with the sun beating down as you have your coffee. Nowadays, Both Christmas Day and January 6th are getting about equal celebration with the children’s gifts often divided between the two days.

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk. Things were strangely quiet except for a few visitors wandering about, some fishermen fixing their nets. a lone topless woman lying on a rock and a little girl with her mum and dad trying out her new hot pink bike. I'm sure everyone will be out for passegiatta later this evening.

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