Getting ready for my second christmas.

The tradition in Spain and some Latin American...

The tradition in Spain and some Latin American countries is that the Three Wise Men are who bring gifts to children at Christmas. In recent years, as an assimilation of the Anglo-Saxon tradition of Santa Claus, they often appear at gift shops  and  plazas, where children have the opportunity to take a picture sitting on their knees and deliver the letter with their demands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well strictly speaking, not a second christmas at all but the very lovely celebration of  Epiphany. Known as El día de Reyes, the arrival of the three kings is eagerly anticipated by Spanish children in much the same way as other children may look forward to Father Christmas or Santa.

So while I am still digesting my christmas lunch, a process that may take until the spring, all around me my neighbours ,who ignored 25th December, are getting ready for their big day. The shops are starting to fill as people buy presents. A process that is drawn out by the fact that each gift is wrapped by the sales assistant, and the next customer must wait until this process is completed, right down to the bow on top.

For me with my non spanish roots this has many advantages. I do my christmas shopping for my own family in readiness for christmas day (25th December). This means I do my own shopping in nearly empty shops, and get first choice of the newly arrived stock. The same goes for my grocery shopping……..I actually did this on christmas eve. There were two other shoppers in the supermarket. I shopped for Christmas lunch in peace and calm and  even had the time for a long and enjoyable conversation with the girl at the till who is expecting her first child in March. I expect it was very much busier in the US or other European countries.

Epiphany is of course when the three kings arrived to visit the new-born Jesús. I love that this is celebrated here, and it does make christmas feel very much a christian celebration. Spain, especially here in Andalucía, has not commercialised christmas very much at all. Gifts rarely arrive in the shops much before the last two weeks in December. Cards are not normally exchanged and children usually receive a small gift on Kings Day. This will very often be a gift of clothes.

Were I live, children still play in the streets, and big and expensive toys are simply not seen. Out walking a few days ago, I passed a group of little girls who had set out their plastic toy cups and saucers and plates  all along the pavement outside their homes. They were busy holding a pretend tea party for each other, and passers-by like me simply smiled and stepped off the pavement so as not to spoil their game…..It´s not a sight too common in many countries now.I fear that it will eventually disappear here in Spain too, but I hope it continues for a long time yet.

So, my second christmas will be here on the 6th January, and the first for my neighbours. My posts may be a little more daily-ish than daily, as my friends and family arrive again…..but no presents this time; that was all taken care of a week ago. We will go to the square on the night of the 5th and watch the procession (Cabalgata) go by, and sweets will be thrown for the children to collect.

I had hoped to start painting again this week after my christmas break, but perhaps that was a little optomistic…..I am going to go will the flow and hunker down for another round of serious partying and eating. Normal service, here at the blog and at the easel will have to wait until the 7th January. Not that I´m complaining. After many years in Spain I have learned that the most important thing of all is to have as many fiestas as possible, make them last as long as possible and have as many friends and relatives around as you can fit into your house.

What a wonderful place this is, and long may we continue to celebrate the epiphany a whole lot more than Santa.

Have a good day everyone,

Judy xxx

About judymorrisart

Independent artist working with oil on canvas. I live and work in Málaga, Andalucía in Southern Spain.
This entry was posted in Kings day, New year, painting, People and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Getting ready for my second christmas.

  1. Richelle says:

    Hi Judy, I suspect that with the crisis gifts at both Xmas and Reyes might be limited a bit more than usual, but I suggest you have a look at the garbage contenadores the day after Reyes…. In my experience yes, articles of clothing are used as gifts at both Xmas and Reyes, but still enormous amounts of money are spent on plastic garbage toys and the boxes and wrapping paper will be in the contenadores for all to see the day after. Our Ayuntamiento is not exactly supporting some austerity this year, as the Kings will arrive by helicopter no less!! I feel that together with Valentines Day, Xmas has been commercialised increasingly in the shops in the last decade in Spain, kids got the catalogues from the toyshops distributed in the schoolbus in November and all Spanish tv channels are flooded with commercials for perfumes, jewelry etc.
    Enjoy the Cabalgata, dress warmly as it never seemst to start on time, lol!!

    • Things are changing in Spain, Richelle. Sadly the time will come when we too have christmas gifts in the shops in October. Wow, I didnt know the Kings are arriving by helicopter, the town hall should be thinking more of the poor………..xxx

  2. Hi Judy, I shared this post yesterday on my Facebook as a celebration of Three Kings Day, stop by sometime 🙂
    http://www.facebook.com/Lagaleriaartbypeggymartinezartist

  3. Pingback: Day 7-Blog Challenge: Gifts from the Kings « GIFT OF THE ROSE

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