Gaspar visiting Santa Cruz de la Palma
Although Father Christmas does visit Spanish children, he’s a new arrival. Traditionally the presents arrive on the morning of January 6th, when the three kings visit baby Jesus. This is why the sales haven’t really started yet – Christmas isn’t over here. And on the evening of the 5th, they ride in procession through most of the major towns and villages in Spain. In previous years we’ve usually gone to see the procession in Santa Cruz. They start at the south end of town and meet up at the Plaza España, where they find they’re all following the same star and agree to travel together. When they get to the Alemeda, they find King Herod’s court. Of course, he wants to know what they’re doing in his country, and then makes them promise to tell him where the child is. They travel up the baranco from the concrete ship, and find Mary, Joseph and Jesus in a cave, and leave their presents. Then finally, an angel tells them not to even think about telling Herod where to find Jesus.
At that point they light the bonfires in the (hopefully dry) river bed and set off the fireworks.
The procession in Santo Domingo de Garafía is supposed to be particularly good. Traditionally it starts at 10pm, and there’s a long drive back for me, which is why I’ve never seen it.
The shops will stay open at least until midnight for people who’ve left buying presents until the last minute. Saturday is a public holiday, and the sales start on Monday – if you’ve got any money left by then.
I just hope their majesties know that I’ve been a good girl, because I want a holiday in a posh hotel, and bad children traditionally get coal – carbon in Spanish. Mind you, I’d quite like to get carbon as long as it was in the form of diamonds.