In most Hispanic countries, the day the Three Wise Men visited Jesus (Epiphany) holds more significance than Christmas Day. On the night of January 5, children write to their favorite king (rather than to Santa) for what they want and leave their shoes outside, filled with straw for the Wise Men’s camels to eat; today is when they open their gifts.
Yesterday evening, the streets of Madrid’s center were packed with people waiting excitedly from 2pm to see the Parade of the Kings that began around 6pm. Today as families spend time together, there is a tradition of eating “Roscon of the Kings” which is a large loaf of bread in the shape of a king’s crown, coated with nuts and dried-fruit and filled with cream or chocolate. A gold coin is hidden inside, and it is believed that the person who gets it will have good luck throughout the year.
To reassert the importance of this day over December 25, recently in Madrid there was an anti-Santa campaign to spotlight the existing capitalism around the concept of Father Christmas. It highlighted his unacceptable behavior that included: doping his reindeer, racism, exploiting his elves, relations with the Romanian mafia and general susceptibility to commercialization. There was a demonstration outside the Finnish Embassy demanding the closure of Santa’s toy factory — a cause of contamination in the Scandinavian country.
Based in Madrid, a website has been created for the cause that includes an anti-Santa pro-Kings rap by campaigners dressed as the Three Kings which you can see here; it ends with a stage killing of Santa Claus.