Seville Snapshots: The Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos in Triana

If you’ve ever dreamed of candy rain (circa the Candy Coated Raindrops song from the 90s), you have a date with destiny today: The Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos. The Three Kings Epiphany parade has got to be one of the goofiest but beloved traditions for the expat community in Spain, where enormous floats laden with kids pelt candy and small, plastic toys at bystanders. 

There is hardly a trace of Santa Claus in Spain, as children believe that they receive their toys from the Three Kings who brought the Baby Jesus his gold, frankincense and mirth. Coming from the Orient by camel, Gaspar, Melchor and Balthasar parade through the city on the eve of the Epiphany. After binging on Christmas sweets, families then gather to eat Roscón de Reyes, a flaky fruitcake laced with whipped cream.

I usually stick with a gin and tonic and ride out the candy storm, venturing out with an overturned umbrella to catch a few sweets for me and the Novio.

If you’re interested, the Cabalgata through Triana begins at 5p.m. this evening, a day later than normal. You can find the schedule here.

Want more? I wrote about Triana’s cabalgata last year, when my friends convinced me, on a candy binge, that it was a good idea to stay out until 6am. Jerks.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Revé says:

    I went yesterday, I was lucky to get a spot right next to the street near Plaza del Duque (I’m spending the holidays here, I lived in Triana a couple years ago…not looking forward to heading back to Madrid Wednesday, but I digress). It was fun and scary in a way that only Spain can do it lol, especially since I was trying to tape the parade on my phone.
    Revé recently posted..“Happy” 2014My Profile

    • Cat Gaa says:

      Yeah, you definiely have to watch your head, your feet and your personal belongings! I usually watch it in Triana, but this time I had the Novio’s ahijada to watch, so we were a few feet back. I still made out with about 3lbs of candy for my academy!

      • Revé says:

        I manage to catch a couple toys and some candy — with my hair, my left hand, my clothes, etc — while recording the parade, so all in all it was a success lol.
        Revé recently posted..“Happy” 2014My Profile

  2. The candy throwing tradition did not make it over here to Puerto Rico, but the cabalgata did. And the presents on Three Kings Day. And on Christmas. Santa Claus is alive and well in PR. We celebrate any and all holidays–American, Puerto Rican, and Spanish. The party never ends. Happy New Year to all.

  3. amelie88 says:

    It’s interesting how one of the Three Wise Men is always depicted as black (I think there is also a black one in our own French Nativity here at home). I commented on the use of blackface on another blog–this would never be allowed to happen in the USA due to the “racial climate” in our country and our complicated history with slavery. I’m not well versed in its history but blackface is basically a huge no-no here. It would be interesting to hear an African American’s perspective on this. Is it offensive to them? Or is it okay because of the cultural differences?

    I realize in Spain it is not considered racist (at least by Spaniards) because… well, it’s just not. The attitude is different, even though slavery also existed there as well. I think the Civil War really shaped the US’s views on this topic since one of the major reasons there was one in the first place was slavery.

    (Also visited the African American History Museum in Boston just this past weekend so this topic has been on my mind a lot the past few days).
    amelie88 recently posted..Carry On, Boston Strong!My Profile

    • Cat Gaa says:

      To me, it’s still a bit unnerving, even though Balthasar is the one who kids ask to bring them gifts. Having grown up as a minority in Rockford,it seems to be poking fun, as it is believed Balthsar is from the Orient, which could mean Africa or the Middle East or anywhere. I inquired about participating in the cabalgata but was told I’d have to do blackface. Wasn’t into it.

      It’s interesting that you’d say the Civil War has shaped our understanding and opinions, and I can see why. Makes me wonder how Balthasar came to be the legend he is. Happy new year, jolie!

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