Today was very peaceful in Valencia. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Spain, but it is celebrated at home with family and friends. I suspect that the local Valencians were sleeping in this morning to make up for a late night. On Christmas Eve, which is called Nochebuena, it is traditional for families to have a large meal called Cena de Nochebuena that lasts late into the night. Many will head off to church for midnight mass. Some keep going with parties that last until morning. As for me, I was nestled snug in my bed, sugarplum dreaming and hoping that Santa would be able to find me in my new home.
Papa Noel (a.k.a. Santa Claus) gets a break in Spain. Some children will receive a small gift from Santa on Christmas morning, but it’s not the biggest day of the season. If you’re a kid, the really exciting stuff is still almost two weeks away when Los Tres Reyes Magi (the Three Kings) arrive in town to shower them with candy and toys. Children have been writing letters to the Three Kings asking for gifts. It’s kind of like having not just one Santa, but three. A nice job sharing arrangement that seems more reasonable to me than expecting one guy to keep all the children happy.
The Three Kings will arrive on January 5th to much fanfare with a parade through the city. I can’t wait to see what kind of craziness this day will hold. January 6th, the Day of the Epiphany, is the day that everyone is waiting for, when the children wake to find gifts from the Kings. But more on that later.
For now, the festivities continue…