Postcard from... Madrid
While the last party poppers and empty cava bottles of 2013 were cleared away by Madrid’s refuse collectors yesterday morning, Christmas lights still festoon the streets, carols continue to blare out in shopping malls and Spanish children are still eagerly awaiting the arrival on Sunday night of the Three Kings, bearing gifts for well-behaved youngsters – and lumps of coal for those who are not.
This weekend marks the last round of Spain’s seasonal celebrations, culminating in the Three Kings processions on Sunday evening when Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar miraculously appear in multiple locations across Spain, riding either camels or, where squeezed council budgets dictate, tractor-drawn floats.
As they pass, the kings and their assistants fling huge quantities of boiled sweets at the public, many of whom bring umbrellas, either to protect their heads from the rain of flying confectionery or to scoop it up.
Then on Monday, a holiday, at special church services in the smaller towns and villages, the Kings sit next to the altar and call up each child by name to receive their presents. After which, at last, the Christmas decorations go back in their boxes, and Spain finally gets back to normal.
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...