The Three Kings Parade
January 5th is a special day in Lanzarote (and indeed other parts of Spain) as it is traditionally the day the three kings of Nativity fame arrive. Not only that but they bring presents for the children. So where is Santa? Here he has been usurped by these three biblical characters.
January 6th is present opening day for the children and, rather like Santa, the gifts are delivered during the previous evening. The arrival of the Three Kings on the previous day is therefore looked forward to with great anticipation.
The Three Kings arrive in Puerto del Carmen by boat accompanied by a band. Once on dry land the three exchange their marine transport for the more traditional mode of transport, camels. There are four camels for three kings; one is for presents.
They then join the parade along the harbour wall into town. accompanied by page boys and a royal retinue. Also in the parade are Disney and well known children’s television characters. The parade is obviously aimed at the children who are lining the route. The Three Kings toss out of sweets for the children who scramble to pick them up.
The children lining the route know each of the kings by name; Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. Each child has their favourite and calls out their king’s name.
This is a slight departure from the biblical account and I am sure there are few requests for gold, frankincense and myrrh. There is a festival atmosphere though, with excited children and families lining the route of the parade and lots going on in the plaza.
The one thing missing from the parade and festivities was Santa. There was no sign of him anywhere, not even icons of the original Saint Nicholas. The children however, did not seem to mind that he wasn’t there. He just couldn’t compete with the Three Kings.
The event I experience may have been in Puerto del Carmen but similar festivals take place across the Canary Isles and mainland Spain. If you are anywhere in Spain look out for the Three Kings on January 5th.
For more photos of this event visit the Three Kings Day gallery by clicking on the button below.