The night of Tenerife Christmas on January 05 of 2018 by the ancient historical fort Castillo San Felipe was a memorable one.
This fort that was built to fend off pirates at Puerto de la Cruz by the seaside at Playa Jardin is an awesome stage at twilight. The setting of the sun at the time when i arrived wasn't picture perfect but spectacular nevertheless. I was one and a half hours early for the 7.30 p.m. arrival of real people that represented the biblical Magi. Behind me was a French speaking family. In front of me, a man talked in Portuguese to his wife whose baby grew restless.
They stood a few paces from me. They played the part by looking sternly ahead.
Suddenly, the portal of the Castillo opened.
Shortly after that, all three kings appeared on the rooftop of the castle by the sound of fireworks.
We don't know how they had come. They arrive with a helicopter in the Tenerife capital, by camels in San Christóbal de la Laguna and by ancient ships in Los Christianos. Indeed, their coming and going varies by Tenerife Christmas traditions. But they always come to worship baby Jesus with precious gifts of gold, Frankinsence and Myrrh.
Christmas on the biggest Canary Island isn't only reminded and anticipated by the holy kings on house facades during the Advent.
There, these three wise men are in thousands of nativity displays. Many of them are portrayed life as "Belenes Vivos" by real people in street performances like in Icod el Alto, in Tigaiga and inside schools.
The three holy kings the icon of Tenerife Christmas figure in homes, malls, shops and window displays, in churches, in the Media like TV and in the Internet. Sometimes, they make their appearance long before the Cabalgata parade to collect letters with Christmas gift wishes from the very young ones.
All they have in common with Father Christmas is that only good children are rewarded by them. And that's to be taken with a pinch of salt, you know...
This takes place by 10 p.m. on Plaza de Europa when the mayor is handing
over the keys to his town. Now the three holy kings can enter all homes
of children to deposit their gifts which is usually by a Christmas
Before that however, the Cabalgata stops by the church Iglesia de la Piñata.
There, gift parcels are taken down from floats and are given to handicapped children. A Christmas spirit highlight, indeed...
Later, the kids of poor families receive presents from the holy kings on Plaza de Europa.
Young patients who are often terminally ill are visited by Los Reyes Magos who bring Christmas gifts to them.
The Dia de Reyes January 06 of Theophany as well as the night before with the Cabalgata of los Reyes Magos will never be replaced by Father Christmas. The German tradition of celebrating December 24 wont have a chance either to take over in Spanish speaking countries. The magic of the three Magi is to go on.
Pork meat alias Carne de Fiesta is to be expected but everything else goes. However, there is the Roscón de Reyes, while Turón and almonds are given during the entire season. The Roscón is made with dried, candied fruit, sugar, eggs and flower.
This Christmas sweet which is generally bought may hide a tiny nativity
scene figurine inside. We may wonder if it's true that Corte Ingles the oldest Spanish mall in Tenerife
offered such a cake with gold nuggets to be found by a lucky buyer.
Otherwise, the Father Christmas cult between December 24 and 25 is there to stay, too. And not only because of tourists with that tradition, as you may very well guess...
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