There will be great excitement in the streets of Malaga this evening, just as there has been since 1923, when the first 'cabalgata' or Kings' parade, took place in the city.
Since 1913 it had been a tradition in the city to take toys to children in orphanages and hospitals. The idea was started by the lawyer, poet, journalist and regional primary education delegate, Narcisco Díaz de Escovar. The Magi would visit the Casa Cuna orphanage and children in the Hospital Civil but on 5 January 1923 they took to the streets of Malaga. Organising the event was down to a citizens' commission, with Díaz de Escovar at the helm. A number of other public figures were also involved, including the then mayor of Malaga, Narciso Briales Franquelo, and the then president of the Diputación and owner of the conservative newspaper 'El Cronista', Eduardo León y Serralvo, among others.
The parade started in the park next to the City Hall and from there went along Calle Larios to Plaza de la Constitución, Calle Granada, Plaza de la Merced, Calle Álamos, Calle Torrijos (today Carretería), to the Casa Cuna orphanage (now the Centro Cultural Provincial), the Hospital Civil and finally Tacón (today Avenida de Barcelona).
According to newspapers reporting the event, the parade was led by a section of the Guardia Civil, who were followed by representatives from the Red Cross with their cornets and tambourine band, musicians with panderos, zambombas and “all sorts of instruments”. The Three Kings were accompanied by 10 pages and behind them came a float disguised as a giant shoe (it is traditional in Spain to leave a shoe for the Kings to fill rather than the stocking traditionally left out for Father Christmas in some countries) pulled by oxen. There were fireworks and people watched from balconies as the cavalcade made its way slowly through the streets. One newspaper reported that “without doubt, the most moving moments were when the procession went to the Casa Cuna and the hospital.”
It is said that the Kings had difficulty getting into the Casa Cuna due to the number of people outside. However, they managed to enter and distributed their presents to the children who apparently “almost snatched them with indescribable delight and enthusiasm, while singing an opportune and moving song”.
The first Magi to visit Malaga were played by students of the Academia de Declamación, a local drama school.