Reyes arrives with camels, Kings and music

Always check your holiday insurance, does it cover you against a bombardment of boiled sweets? if not you could have been in trouble with the Reyes eve arrival of the 3 Kings. January 6 is Epiphany, the day the 3 kings or wise men arrived at the stable with gifts for Jesus, and in Spain it is the biggest celebration of the festive season.

Tenerife relishes any excuse for a party, and all over the island last night crowds gathered to welcome Gaspar, Melchor and Balthasar on their camels  to many towns and villages. In Adeje the kings arrived at the local football ground by helicopter, it takes quite a while to cram the camels in and put their seat belts on, while in Santa Cruz 20,000 people queued up last week for free tickets to CD Tenerife’s Heliodoro stadium for a spectacular show. Normally the capital kings use a helicopter but this year they arrived from the port in a big parade (cabalgata) which included some of the CDT players.

Down here in Los Cristianos the ferry port is always the starting point, then the procession works its way up through town to the cultural centre where a stage awaits the kings and a makeshift manger and stable adds to the festive feel. The parade was headed last night by dancers, a snow machine, acrobats and a whole series of costumed youngsters. There was much jostling for key viewing positions in the packed streets as the excitement built, as the camel mounted kings came into view there was some good natured scrummong as the wise men threw handfuls of sweets into the crowd. Parents seemed equally as excited as the kids, at one point I was pressed between a group of yummy mummys, how nice.

By the time the procession reached the stage, a massive crowd had built up and after some music and dancing, the kings took their thrones and children began to go up to collect their presents. The police seemed much more relaxed this year, people were allowed through most of the barriers, families were able to pose for photos in the stable area with the donkey, chickens and goats while Mary and Joseph waved from the manger. I saw one little rascal throwing small stones at the chickems to make them run around their pen, bless.

Reyes is a great tradition, enjoyed equally by locals and tourists, today is very much a family day as presents are unwrapped. Phew that’s all the festive stuff out of the way, just time to draw breath before Carnaval season begins.