Magic in the air as Three Kings parades return to full splendor

Thousands line streets to welcome Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar and their entourage 

The Three Kings Day parade in Barcelona
The Three Kings Day parade in Barcelona / Pere Francesch
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

January 5, 2023 06:56 PM

January 5, 2023 09:44 PM

After two years of pandemic restrictions, the traditional January 5 Three Kings parades have returned to their full splendor across Catalonia.


In Barcelona, thousands are lining the streets to catch a glimpse of Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar and their entourage as they parade through the Catalan capital ahead of a busy night of delivering presents.


The evening was filled with brilliant lights, colors, music, and choreography, as excited families welcomed the arrival of the wise men bearing gifts. 

The Three Wise Men arrived safely on board the ship Santa Eulàlia at 4 pm after their long journey from the east. 

The Three Wise Men arriving in Barcelona

At the Portal de la Pau, mayor Ada Colau greeted them with bread and salt as a symbol of hospitality and – most importantly – handed them the keys to the city so that they can deliver presents to girls and boys in every home. 

The Three Kings then set off on their parade at 6 pm, with a new route taking them via Passeig de Colom, Avinguda Paral·lel, Ronda de Sant Pau, Carrer Urgell, and Carrer Sepúlveda to the Magic Fountain on Montjuïc, where they are due to arrive just after 9 pm. 

New floats

Each of the Three Kings has spectacular, brand-new double-decker floats for 2023, while three other floats have been extended by up to 20 meters: Estel's Float, The Toys, and Instructions for Dreaming, which reminded little ones how important it is to go to bed on time and featured dance from SADCUM. 

Some 1,200 people are taking part in the parade, including dancers, actors, stilt walkers, and volunteers. Twelve professional companies were represented as well as organizations with people with functional diversity. Sign language was also introduced into the shows' choreographies.

Perhaps the sweetest news of all is the return of the tradition of throwing candy, following a two-year absence due to the pandemic. An estimated seven tons of sweets will be hurled into the crowd along the parade route.

Other towns and cities

Similar scenes were repeated across the country, as kids young and old could barely contain their excitement at the arrival of the wise men. 

There were spectacular sights in the inland town of Vic, as an army of tea-makers, lantern-holders and assistants welcomed the kings with the light of their lanterns, most of them created for the occasion.

One of the most characteristic elements of the Vic parade is the fire, with nearly 350 lanterns burning four tons of pine.

In Girona, the kings handed out chocolate coins made by master pastry chef Jordi Roca.

In Tarragona, a parade of 17 floats featuring more than 450 people handed out 1,800kg of sweets to the hundreds of excited children. 

Unlike in coastal areas where they arrive by boat, the three wise men had to arrive by train to the western city of Lleida. Around two tonnes of sweets were handed out during the parade which featured dancers and theatrical performances in the style of yetis and snowmen.