27 dic 2013

New Years and The Three Kings in Madrid

New Year's in Madrid
Madrid is a city that never sleeps, especially during Christmas. Between the Christmas lights, the traditional Christmas markets and all the shopping, the Madrilenians don’t have even a second to get bored. Without a doubt, Madrid has no equal when comes to spending the winter holidays.

When Christmas is gone don’t even think that something has changed, because it only just begins. The celebration of New Years and the Three Kings is just about to begin and if you stay with us through this article, you will discover the significance and the traditions of this holidays. So grab a handful of grapes and ride your camel (just like the Three Kings do), because our story of Madrid is just about to begin.

 New Year, New Grapes

The 31st of December is called “Nochevieja” in Spain and it is celebrated because it’s the last day of the year.  The “Nochevieja” is the most special night in the year; it’s the night of wishes and good intentions for the upcoming year. In order for them to come true, we need to eat the famous “12 lucky grapes”, but where does this tradition come from?

Apparently, the Spanish bourgeois imported this tradition form France and since 1895 the politicians, just
"The 12 lucky grapes" -
the starts of the Spanish New Year's Eve
like the Spanish bourgeois, considered it a good luck. The Spanish tradition states that the 12 grapes have to be eaten at the bell, marking midnight, and the traditional place to do so is Puerta del Sol.  The reason why the grapes are eaten at Puerta de Sol is people's way of answering (very demandingly and ironically) that they eat them there as a sign of protest against the bourgeois, who at the time, ate them in their clean, comfortable houses.

The custom of eating the grapes at exactly midnight was very quickly accepted by all of Spain and has become the great tradition that it is now. There is no doubt that eating the 12 grapes close to Puerta del Sol is a very good and welcoming tradition, because of which people from all over Spain reunite to meet together the New Year. Don’t hesitate, if you have the chance, go to Puerta del Sol!

Where celebrate the “New Year's Eve” in Madrid?

“Nochevieja” traditionally is spent with the family at home as much as outside at Puerta de Sol, but a minute after midnight, it becomes “New Years” and there is no better place to spend New Years than on the dance floor in one of the best clubs in Madrid. You still have time to buy tickets for New Year's Eve  for some of the greatest clubs Madrid has to offer.

History of the Three Kings

The Three Kings
following the magic Star

The celebration of the Three Kings has its origins from the New Testament, which states that Three Kings had arrived at Bethlehem to visit Jesus, known as the “son of God” and “King of the Jews”. These Three Wise Men (Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar) followed the star to Bethlehem and once they were there, they gave to the baby Jesus: Gold (the symbol of a king), Incense (the symbol of God) y Myrrh (the symbol of man). It’s because of these three objects that the Wise Man gave to the baby of Jesus, that in Spain they are the ones who bring gifts to the children. What is more, the tradition is to say that the children that have been very good all year will receive a lot of presents, and the ones that have been bad, will receive coal.

The parade of the Three Kings in Madrid

The parade of the Kings is a mass event that is entertaining for the kids and parents. The centres of the cities
The Three Kings deliver
joy and toys
are closed during the evening of the 5th of January, the day when the Three Kings arrive in all the Spanish cities to give happiness and thrills to the young and the old ones. During the parade, the Kings give away sweets and toys, while leaving the biggest presents for the “night gift giving”.
The Parade of the Kings will start in Madrid in 18:30 at the exit of Nuevos Ministerios. The exciting parade will continue through Paseo de la Castellana, Plaza de Gregorio Marañón, Colón, Recoletos and finish in Plaza de Cibeles where the Kings congratulate all the children of Spain.

After the parade of the Kings…

Roscon de Reyes -
That's a Sweet holiday

Once that the Parade of the Kings is over, the children need to go to sleep very early, because the sooner they go to sleep, the faster the Magic Kings will come and bring them gifts. The morning of the 6th of January, it’s very common to see all kids outside, playing with very tired faces, showing they had little sleep the night before, expecting the magic Kings. In order to have enough energy for the rest of the day, it is very important to have good breakfast with traditional hot chocolate and “Roscón de Reyes”, a traditional cake for these celebrations, filled with cream and “pedazitos” from sugar coated fruits and almonds.  A truly sweet end to the Christmas celebrations!

We hope that you have enjoyed this short article about the Christmas holidays and continue to advance in your Christmas Spanish Course in Madrid. We from AIL Madrid wish you a New Year full of prosperity, happiness ,wishes that come true and of course – that you learn a lot of Spanish!

Happy 2014!

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