Madrid Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos de Oriente

Today, the 5th of January 2008 – in fact, RIGHT NOW – the annual Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos de Oriente are passing down the Paseo de la Castellana and Recoletos to the Plaza de la Cibeles. It all started at 6pm local time.

One can watch LIVE online on internet TV via the TeleMadrid link on MadridMan’s Live Radio, TV, Music, and Movies page.

Magic Kings Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar are passing down the Castellana of Madrid, tossing thousands of kilos of tiny candies to the awaiting hands of tens of thousands of children. If the children have been good all year the Reyes Magos (a.k.a. “The Three Wise Men”) will come to their houses tonight and leave presents. If they’ve been bad, a big lump of coal will be their only gift.

I left the house at about 5:45pm to go see my local neighborhood Cabalgata de los Reyes, all buzzing with childlike anticipation. The closer I got to the street down which the Cabalgata travels the more people I was passing – GOING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!! ARGH!! I MISSED IT!!

Kids were looking down into their bulging bags of candies, spying the ones they were going to eat and those they were going to trade. How disappointed I was. AM! Oh well. At least I have the LIVE, Madrid Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos to watch on TV – which I’m doing now. But I was really hoping to see the small-scale, local Cabalgata in person. What a shame. I usually go with my friend Rafael, a local, whom I meet just before the parade. But this last year Rafa moved to another part of Madrid so… Well, I should’ve checked when it started. My mistake totally.

roscon-de-reyes.jpgAs already stated, tomorrow is Reyes Magos. So what do families do after ripping open all those wonderful gifts brought by the Magic Kings overnight? Pues, eat a delicious slice of Roscón de Reyes. Inside each Roscón is a tiny toy, usually a small ceramic or plastic doll or figurine. As the rule goes, WHOMEVER gets the toy in their slice – careful not to swallow it!! – that person must buy the next year’s roscón. But the truth is, no one ever remembers WHO got the figurine the previous year.

This morning I went to the local bakery at 9:30am and walked inside to find about 30 people waiting in line including the local bar owner, called Paco. I said hello to him and then called out, “Who’s Last?” I called out. “I am!“, came a voice from afar but I was able to spot him and put my front to his back. More people came in the door, packing us in like sardines. The bakery, already warm, was getting hot!

Finally I got up to the front of the line and I asked for a Roscón de Reyes. “Sorry. We don’t have any more for today. But if you come back at 1:30pm we may have one left.” Apparently, most intelligent people, knowing it’s a busy time, come days in advance to order them and then come today to pick them up – like the bar owner Paco was doing. He walked out with 10! But I wasn’t about to go back at 1:30pm with the HOPE of getting a Roscón de Reyes in time for tomorrow – the day of REYES! Dejected, I left, disillusioned and frustrated. NOW WHAT?!

Walked down the sidewalk a little and saw Paco, the bar owner, waved me inside his bar. I entered and told him there were no more Roscónes for sale at that bakery. He said, “Why don’t you go across the street to the frutería? They sell them there and they’re good. I’ve had them before.” So I thanked him and did just that.

Wow. Had he not given me the tip I’d have simply gone to the next closest bakery to likely find similar lines and get a similar response. So at the fruit store I bought one, a medium size, filled with whipped cream, and had part of it for breakfast. It was so good that I bought another one this afternoon after doing my last-minute shopping, but this one without whipped cream – just in case – for tomorrow morning’s breakfast. Still no figurine found!

Tomorrow’s Reyes Magos. Hope you all get want you wanted – and NOT a lump of coal.

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