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Barcelona gears up for Kings Cavalcade

Date Posted: 24/12/14

Barcelona gears up for Kings Cavalcade

Barcelona is gearing up for the Kings Cavalcade event, which will see an enormous procession wind its way through the city's Eixample and Sant Antoni districts, dispensing sweets and presents for children and adults alike.

This tremendous event, viewed by many as a second opportunity to celebrate Christmas, takes place every year on the evening of January 5th. According to the Bible, this was when the three kings who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus arrived at his stable to present the gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Floats resembling the three monarchs - Gaspar, Melcior and Baltasar - are the main attraction of the show as these tend to be extravagant and enormous, towering over the crowds on either side of the parade route.

If you're planning on attending this spectacular festival in January, read on for more information.

What's in a name?

In Barcelona, the celebration is commonly referred to by the tourists and expat community as the Three Kings Parade or the Twelfth Night Procession. In Spanish, it is called, 'La Cabalgata de Reyes Magos' or, if you want to impress the locals, say it in Catalan: 'La Cavalcada de Reis Mags d'Orient'.

Programme of events

The fun gets underway at 4pm on January 5th. Royal pages and retinue prepare to welcome the kings on the dock Moll de La Fusta in front of the Columbus monument at the bottom of Las Ramblas. Family entertainment is provided here for the children. Once the floats arrive by boat, they are attached to cars which then join the parade, which actually starts at Parc de la Ciutadella. The procession itself begins at 6:30pm and proceeds up through Jaume to Urquinaona square, Plaza Catalunya and then Plaza Universitat, before finally finishing at the Montjuic fountain in Plaza España. 

Besides the three kings themselves, there will be a number of other floats from local businesses that will also be handing out sweets. This makes for a colourful and exciting experience as everyone makes their way to Plaza España, with the procession getting to the final destination at around 9:30pm. Since the next day (January 6th) is always celebrated as a bank holiday, the Catalan people then party late into the night, or go home to enjoy a meal with their families.

Traditional food

If you're looking to indulge in the full Cavalcada experience, make sure you indulge in a proper banquet honouring the occasion. Turkey with prunes is a popular option, but seafood is just as common for a main. Dessert, however, should consist of a Tortell de Reis, a round cake with a hole in the middle that consists of two surprises - a figurine of one of the kings and a dried fava bean.

The person who gets the figurine in their slice is 'king' for the day and is rewarded with a crown. However, the person who gets the fava bean must pay for the tortell!

In all, this is an exciting and vibrant celebration, with the city of Barcelona at its best. However, if you need to book hotels or flights, you had better do so quickly as the city is extremely popular during this holiday period.

Posted by Hayley Brent

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