On January 5th, the people of Spain celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings from the Orient, symbolising the arrival in Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus, of the Three Wise Men – Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar.
This is the time when Spanish children receive their Christmas presents. On the evening of January 5th, the three kings from the Orient bring the presents to the children. There are generally processions in town with three men dressing up as the kings and riding about the town scattering sweets to the children.
On the night of January 5th, before going to sleep, children put some milk and biscuits next to the Christmas tree for the Three Kings and some water for their camels. They also leave out their best pair of shoes to be filled with presents.
The next morning, children wake up and see how many presents they have received. If they have been good, they will find a lot of presents, but if they have been naughty they will find coal. These days, however, the coal is actually made of sugar, but it was originally real coal. However, I doubt there are many parents who would actually dare to give their kids coal these days, even if it is made of sugar!
A traditional nibble on Three Kings Day is a piece of roscon, a sugar-coated fruit-filled bread. January 6th is a public holiday in Spain.