Whilst Christmas Day has become more widely celebrated in Spain, the Epiphany remains the most exciting celebration for children who wait eagerly on 5th January for the Wise Men to arrive with their gifts. To mark the occasion, towns and cities throughout the country hold fiestas and parades where people dress up, feast, and celebrate.
A popular traditional food eaten at this time is the Roscón de Reyes (Roscon of Kings). This a sweet bread ring decorated with colourful candied fruits to give the appearance of a bejewelled crown. A small figurine (usually a baby Jesus) and a dried fava bean are baked into the cake and tradition dictates that whoever finds the figurine will be named king or queen for the day, whilst whoever finds the fava bean has to pay for the following year’s Roscón.
Alcoi Parade – 5th January 2015
Parades are held throughout Spain to mark Reyes, however the country’s longest-running parade is held in Alcoi in Valencia and has been a fixture in the town since 1885. The entire town comes alive at this time of year and celebrations can last for around 3 days.
For 2015, the fiesta will begin on the Sunday before 6th January with the epiphany feast and children dressed as shepherds arriving to give gifts to the baby Jesus, this children’s parade is known as ‘les Pastoretes’ (the little shepherds). People will continue to celebrate on 4th January with a ‘Royal Envoy’ announcing the arrival of the Three Kings the following evening, and children will place letters to the Wise Men into letterboxes carried by donkeys.
Celebrations culminate on 5th of January with the arrival of the Three Wise Men (Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) on camels, with torchbearers lighting their way and Royal Pages handing out gifts to children. On the 6th of January families will then exchange gifts amongst themselves.
This is truly a magical time of year to be in Spain, and a fantastic opportunity to witness traditional Spanish celebrations.
Alcoi is ideally located between Valencia and Alicante, and we represent a large number of hotels in both cities which can provide excellent bases for visiting Spain’s longest-running Reyes parade.
We have chosen some our favourite hotels below:
This lovely 3-star hotel is located in the new centre, one of the most popular commercial centres in the city and a short distance away from the historic centre of Valencia, with prices from £64 B&B per room, per night.
This beautiful 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Valencia's cultural centre, close to the Cathedral and the well-known Carmen quarter. With plenty of restaurants and boutiques nearby, this a great choice to explore Valencia and prices start from £74 B&B per room, per night.
AlicanteTryp Ciudad de Alicante 3*
Located in cosmopolitan centre of Alicante close to the beach, pier, and historic centre, this contemporary 3-star has plenty of charm stemming from its modern interiors which use stylish decoration to create a light and lively atmosphere. Prices from £47 B&B per room, per night.
Hotel Eurostars Mediterranea Plaza 4*
This 4-star is located in the heart of the historic quarter in the 'town hall square' with fantastic views looking over the beautiful plaza and views of the Santa Barbara castle which towers over the city. It is also a short walk from the beach. Prices from £50 B&B per room, per night.