A Right Royal Night In Los Cristianos

How did the school playground version go “we three kings of Orient are, one in a taxi, one in a car, one on a scooter blowing his hooter, following yonder star”. Transport is a bit more adventurous in Tenerife, in Adeje, Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthasar arrived by helicopter and in Los Cristianos they combined a short sea trip with the traditional camel ride.

Reyes, Kings Day, or epiphany to use the bible definition, is on 6th January and marks the kings arrival at the stable with their gifts. Most Spanish children open their main presents then but the big public celebration is the arrival of the kings and the cabalgata parade. Last year Arona made a little tweak to the well established formula and they ran with it again this year. The kings arrived at the fishermens quayside by boat and started the parade on foot along the old beach promenade before mounting the waiting camels just below The Devon Arms, one of my watering holes. The rest of the parade was already there slipping into costumes and adding finishing touches to vehicles.

I caught up in Avenida Suecia where the even longer than usual procession was working it’s way along the packed shopping street. The kings were at the rear allowing for a build up of excitement and less chance of other fancy dress characters stepping in a camels calling card. Quite a few old favourite cartoon characters and fantasy outfits from Carnaval time were enjoying the route, posing for photos with bubbling children and throwing sweets into the night air.

It’s a slow process and all the upstairs windows were full of people getting a better vantage point. A lot of dancing, singing, and cheering elapsed before the kings came into view, they are undoubtedly the stars and milked their audience as they progressed. From their lofty perches on the beasts of burden the kings were able to spray generous helpings of sweets even further, they can be a bit hard if they hit you but no one complains, some children amass quite a haul of sweeties by the end of the parade.

I adjourned to the bar as they hit the last stretch leading to the cultural centre and the thrones set up outside. Allowing a couple of pints settling time I returned when the biggest swell of admirers had subsided. There was another small change this year, the large manger scene had been scaled back allowing better views of the stage as children queued to sit on the kings laps and receive pre arranged presents. It’s always a magical sight, the pleasure the children and their parents get is immense and as a tourist attraction it has few equals.