Madrid has held its annual Eve of Epiphany parade, with the biblical Three Wise Men taking centre stage and handing out sweets to thousands of children.
Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, suitably dressed in robes and crowns, graced parades across Spain and nowhere was the show more spectacular than in the capital.
Colourful floats made their way down Madrid’s main boulevard amid tight security, with hundreds of police officers on duty, some heavily armed.
Magical sights drew gasps of wonder from crowds protected by concrete barriers blocking access to streets. The movement of trucks was curbed after last month’s attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.
The Christian Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 is bigger than Christmas for many in Spain.
Children often wait until then to open their presents, said to have been brought not by Santa Claus – the traditional gift-giver elsewhere – but by the Three Kings.
This echoes their biblical visit to the newborn baby Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
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