Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Feast of the 3 Kings.. yet another Christmas?!?!?

January 5-6 marked the feast of the 3 Kings (Los Reyes), recognizing the arrival of the magis bearing gifts for baby Jesus. This is a special time for Spanish children as it is traditionally when gifts are exchanged. While the Spaniards also celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, it is more a time for big meals with family and friends and very few if any gifts are exchanged. This year, our kids got to experience both Santa and Los Reyes. Yesterday in the marina there was a big town celebration marking the arrival of the 3 Kings on a fishing boat (apparently to tie to spirit of a coastal fishing village?). Each king was accompanied by an entourage of brightly decorated soldiers and revelers, loaded up with baskets of candy (caramelos) to toss out to the children who lined up along the streets. The kings got off their boats and mounted big white horses and the procession began its march into town, followed by the omnipresent town band and fireworks. After the parade, we headed home, where the kids laid out their shoes on the patio and placed a carrot in each one to feed the Kings' camels (or in this case- horses). In exchange, the Kings left gifts for the kids which turned out to more than fill their shoes! Our kids were delighted to wake up to yet another pile of wrapped gifts on the floor, which included gifts from their uncles, grandparents and cousins (things that we had no room for in Italy). It is safe to say that after 4 1/2 months, we have now accumulated a veritable cornucopia of toys for the kids for which we have no idea how will all get back to the states. And we still have several birthday parties coming this month! AAArrrggghhh! Thanks to the generosity of relatives and parental enthusiasm to honor both traditions of Christmas, we find our kids muttering; "crisis... what crisis???"

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