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Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Traditionally Spanish children receive their Christmas gifts on 6 January, Epiphany, the day associated with the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem with gifts for the baby Jesus. The Kings are called Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar, representing Europe, Arabia, and Africa and bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Nearly every Spanish town of any size has a parade of the Three Kings on the evening of 5 January. This year we went to the one in the small town of Sax mainly because the daughter of one of Maggie's friends was taking part. It was quite a good parade. The Kings were on floats pulled by tractors, Balthazar was a blacked up white person (Very Black and White Minstrels), there were Roman soldiers, fire eaters, people on stilts, a dancing horse, children on donkeys, a small flock of geese, lots of dancers and plenty of the local variation on brass bands - there weren't many sweets being thrown about though.

Aftr the parade the normal thing to do would be to go home for a big meal and then the children would go to bed in anticipation of their gifts to come on the morning of the 6th. Of course the power of Coca Cola, Corte Inglés (a huge department store here) and global and local advertising means that Spanish children now often get their gifts from Santa on 25 December and the richer or luckier ones get gifts from both Santa and the Kings.

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