Covid-19 does not prevent arrival of the Three Kings bearing gifts

Local councils choose to not hold customary parades and go for static shows to avoid crowds, some spread over several days

The Three Kings' arrival in Tarragona, on January 5, 2020 (by Tarragona local council)
The Three Kings' arrival in Tarragona, on January 5, 2020 (by Tarragona local council) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 6, 2021 09:07 AM

The undoubtedly most magical night of the year for Catalan children was not be ruined by Covid-19.

Just like every other year, the Three Kings visited Catalonia on the night between January 5 and January 6, coinciding with the Epiphany – it was different, but the three oriental monarchs entered all homes and gave presents to them all, as long as they had behaved throughout 2020.

After a very atypical year, with kids having to adapt to online classes from March to June, and not being allowed to leave home for one and a half months in the spring, they also noticed the effects of the pandemic during the Three Kings celebrations.

On January 5, as the curfew was exceptionally extended from the usual 10 pm to 11 pm, welcoming parades across the country took place, but not like every year. This time, some local councils chose to hold several static events in different neighborhoods in which children were able to hand in their letters filled with present requests.

Barcelona held a show from December 29 to January 4, where 40,000 attendees were able to immerse themselves in the Orient and in the magic world of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar.

While this show is organized every year, on the evening of January 5, the arrival of the Three Kings had to be followed on TV rather than in the streets, with them disembarking in the port and monitoring the logistics of the preparations of the present-giving carried out by their royal pages.

In order to avoid crowds, some municipalities, such as Lleida, held shows a number of times throughout the first week of the year so that 60,000 people in total could enjoy the arrival of the Three Kings safely.

Others, such as Tarragona, also held events on the days leading up to the most long-awaited night for all children, and broadcast the Kings' arrival on local TV.

In Girona, there was no parade with streets packed with excited children either, but their arrival was shown by the local TV station and a call was made to sing a song for the magical monarchs, from balconies holding the customary Epiphany Chinese lanterns.

From the East, three Kings come on their camels

Coming from the Orient on their camels, the Three Kings deliver presents to Catalan children. Before delivering them, they receive letters from them, and so bring them gifts in the small hours of January 6, with the kids having welcomed them the day before in parades across the country.

According to tradition, the Three Kings visit the houses of all the children in one night, just as Santa Claus and his reindeer do elsewhere. Before their arrival, children prepare a drink and food for each King, as well as for the camels.

In the run-up to January 6, the Three Kings have little time to assess whether every child in Catalonia has behaved well enough to deserve the presents they have ordered by letter, but they have never been reported to be late following their long journey from the Orient – yet, if they identify any young rascals, their present is clear: loads of coal!