The Three Kings make their way to Andalucía by camel, boat, float or helicopter

The Cabalgata in Malaga
The Cabalgata in Malaga / SUR
  • Parades, in which tonnes of sweet will be thrown to spectators, will take place in cities, towns and villages across Spain on 5 January

The first ever Three Kings parade or Cabalgata in Malaga took place in 1923. Until then, the tradition was for the Magi to take toys to children in hospital and orphanages on 5 January every year. The idea to take the Kings on to the streets of Malaga was started by lawyer, poet, journalist and regional primary education delegate, Narciso Díaz de Escovar.

According to newspapers reporting the event, the parade was led by a section of the Guardia Civil, who were followed by a band from the Red Cross. The Three Kings were accompanied by 10 pages and behind them came a float in the shape of a giant shoe (it is traditional in Spain to leave a shoe for the Kings to fill). There were fireworks and people watched from balconies as the cavalcade made its way slowly through the streets.

Nowadays, Three Kings parades are held in nearly every town and village in Spain on 5 January with some interesting variations from place to place. The Kings may arrive by boat or helicopter and make their way through the streets on horseback, floats and even camels. The cavalcade is escorted by many festive floats and bands and the Three Kings traditionally hurl kilos of sweets into the crowds with many people prepared with umbrellas and carrier bags to collect them.

The biggest processions take part in the cities and it is even possible to reserve a seat from which to watch the spectacle, however all the towns and villages will be putting on a show to thrill small children.

Starting times vary but more information can be found on town hall websites.