Journalist Pepe Calabuig, dressed as the Ambassador of the Three Kings from the Orient, opens the traditional Three Kings’ Parade in Alcoy. Alcoy, 2010 © EFE
CategoryFestivity of National Tourist Interest
DatesJan 5, 2016
This is Spain’s oldest parade, held since 1885.
In Alcoy, old folk and youngsters alike live Christmas and the arrival of the Three Wise Men with special excitement. On the Sunday prior to 6 January, the feast of the epiphany, children dressed up as shepherds parade with their flocks to give gifts to the new-born Baby Jesus: this is a children’s parade called “les Pastoretes” (the little shepherds). From then on, the excitement builds steadily until 4 January, when the Royal Envoy announces the imminent arrival of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, reading a proclamation throughout the town. He is accompanied by “les Burretes”, small donkeys that carry letterboxes where the children put their letters to the Three Wise Men.
Finally, when night falls the following day, 5 January, the great moment arrives: the Three Wise Men make their spectacular entry into Alcoy, riding camels and loaded with presents. They ride through the streets of the town, following “antorcheros” (torch bearers) who light up their way. The atmosphere fills with Christmas carols, and the royal pages (“les negres”) hand over their presents to the children. They use wooden stepladders to climb up to the balconies and windows of the houses, filling this unique night with magic.