Seville Snapshot: The Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos

Not too many years ago, I asked my high school students what the Reyes Magos had brought them. In the midst of a financial crisis, I was shocked to hear they received computers, souped up cell phones and other goodies.

After all, Santa Claus and his team of reindeer don’t have any Spanish children on their list because Spaniards have the tradition of the Reyes Magos, or the Three Wise Men of the Orient. They roll into town on big floats, called carrozas, and Melchor, Gaspar and Balthasar pelt everyone from the little kiddies to the abuelitas who elbow you out of the way with hard candy and small gifts.

I usually watch the floats on Calle San Jacinto from the refuge of Java Cafe, occassionally venturing into the crowd-choked streets for a better view or a few pieces of candy that have fallen between hands, bags and upturned umbrellas and onto the ground.

This year, as the Novio is still away, I watched the city parade and its 30 floats from the front row with some friends. Grabbing candy off the sides of floats, I nearly got my head taken off by the parade of horses, brass bands and floats as my shoes became sticking from the crushed candy under them.

I took loads of great pictured from right in the front, but I can’t seem to get them off of my camera! No worries, I’ve got fistfuls of caramelos!

Got a photo of Seville or Southern Spain to share? I’d love to see it! Send me the photo, along with a short description of where you took it and links to any pages you’d like included, to sunshineandsiestas [at] gmail [dot] come. Look for a new photos every Monday, or join me at my Facebook page for more scoop on El Sur! What’s your favorite Spanish holiday tradition?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. I love Cabalgatas (to be completely honest I love all the Spanish traditions and always dragged Nuno to see all those parades, etc), I saw them twice in Barcelona and was always impressed. Nuno lived in Galicia when he was a kid, and (as they don’t celebrate Reyes in Portugal) he always thought that the parade was for his B-day (also on the 6th of January). :)
    Aga recently posted..Szczęśliwa 13?/ Lucky 13?My Profile

  2. I will look for you next year! We always watch from the balcón right across from Java Café and the Distrito building, at Dani’s aunt’s house which is the first floor of the building that always wallpapers itself with balloons, right above the chino and tabacos.

  3. Stop stealing candy from children.

    That’s my thing.

  4. Mardi Gas in Louisiana is a lot like the Cabalgata De los Reyes Magos celebration you describe. Festive and fierce! Shared historical roots of the holiday, too. I enjoy these cultural traditions, but not always the accompanying craziness. Now, I live in the Netherlands and we have carnaval here, too.
    I think I might enjoy Spain’s Cabalgata, at least once 😉
    It sounds like fun for the kids and their abuelitas.
    Oh, in Louisiana we have King Cake. Does Seville have a traditional cake or treat for the Reyes Magos?
    Gayla recently posted..Aachen’s Kaiserdom – Part 2My Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      There is a Carnaval here, too, but it’s all about drinking and peeing in the streets! As for the treat, families aet Roscón de Reyes, which is like fruitcake with cream in the middle. I don’t care for it, actually, and didn’t even have any this year!


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