This will be most often asked question during December and until the 6th of January in a large number of Spanish speaking countries. The reason is that on that day in the morning all children expect to find their living rooms full of presents. The Three Kings or the Three Wise Men (Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar) is one of the most deep-rooted traditions in catholic and Spanish speaking countries. The said tradition comes from the story of three kings who traveled to Bethlehem in order to bring Child Jesus some gifts on the occasion of his birth. However, I am not going to get into religious issues but to focus on how this tradition is in my country: Spain.
The arrival of the Three Kings has been for years, a perfect threat parents use to make their kids behave properly, eat all their food, do all their homework and go to bed early. This threat is only effective from mid-November until the 7 of January approximately though. Children write a letter in which they let the Three Kings know what they want as presents and highlight how good and obedient they were. The so called “letter to the Three Kings” will be sent per post (without a stamp though) in December. During this month, however, in many big malls there are plenty of actors who play the Three Kings sitting in thrones and receive personally lots of children together with their respective letters.
In the picture above you can see how the faces of tons of children will look like during the days close to the Día de Reyes (Three Kings’ Day or Epiphany) and particularly on the evening of the 5th of January when they go together with their parents to witness the Cabalgata de Reyes. This is a parade in which a plethora of dancers and musicians announce the arrival of the Three Kings while giving away sweets and candy to the children. The main characters of this parade will make their appearance at the very end riding the last three carriages.
Lastly, if kids have behaved properly during the whole year, the morning after this parade they will wake up surrounded by presents. If they haven’t, they will wake up surrounded by coal. Yes, coal. In accordance with tradition, coal is the punishment for those who have not been obedient. However, on the 6th of January even the naughtiest child will be allowed to enjoy Día de Reyes’ specialty, the so called Roscón de Reyes (King cake).