Sunday, 9 January 2011
The King on the Via de la Plata
In Spain although New Year is marked with smiles and handshakes what they have made their own is the Feast of the Epiphany when the Three Kings arrived to pay homage to the baby Jesus. For Spaniards this is the real Christmas and I arrived back in Seville in time to feel the excitement mounting. All day on the 5th of January, the eve of the feast, a festival atmosphere developed. Crowds drank cold sherry in the street. Tapas bars were overflowing. In the square in front of the church of Sal Salvador several hundred people assembled to chat and drink. The evening of the 5th is when the children would put out their shoes to be filled with presents in the same way as the children in other countries would hang up their stockings. But before the Christmas presents there would be the Cabalgata, the Procession of the Kings, a marvellous cavalcade depicting not only the Kings but scenes from fairy tales and childrens’ stories. This year in Sevilla 41 mobile scenes were to pass through the city during a procession lasting 6 hours. The start time was 4.15 but by 3pm the crowds were forming. By 4pm 250,000 people lined the streets creating a vast avenue of people through which the procession would pass. To symbolise the gifts to come everyone taking part in the procession throws candies to the crowd. Literally millions and millions of caramelos rain down.