The Kings and their entourages have been out and about this week greeting children. / FRANCIS SILVA

Three Wise Men delight children on the most magical night of the year

Parades on 5 January take place in cities, towns and villages as the Reyes Magos bring their gifts to mark the end of the festive season

SUR MALAGA.

Children - and adults - across Spain will be waking up this Friday morning - 6 January - to find gifts left behind by the Reyes Magos, the Three Kings, after parading in colourful finery through the streets of cities, towns and villages.

The traditional parades, or 'cabalgatas', fill the streets on the evening of 5 January. The three stars are undoubtedly the Magi, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar, who ride in colourful floats accompanied by dozens of helpers of all ages.

Sweets fly from the floats as they pass, followed by marching bands, dancers, cartoon characters and other entertainers.

This year the Malaga city parade is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a spectacular parade of 16 floats, setting off from near the city hall at 6pm.

Once of these, number 13, carries 100 children to mark the centenary.

The council reported that some 20.5 tonnes of sweets would be thrown into the crowds this year.

The parade traditionally ends with the Kings walking to the cathedral gates where they make an offering to the baby Jesus.

Towns along the Costa del Sol also have elaborate parades on 5 January. Fuengirola's this year is one of the longest, with 25 floats in the streets between 5pm and 9.30pm. Mijas has three parades in Las Lagunas, La Cala and Mijas Pueblo; Marbella two, in the town centre and in San Pedro; and in Benalmádena the Kings tour Arroyo de la Miel and Benalmádena Pueblo.