Diary… Sunday, Los Cristianos, Tenerife

It is another slow day, but for good reason, because everyone across all of Spain is itching in anticipation of the arrival of the Three Kings (Los Tres Reyes).

Liverpool vs Everton in the FA Cup is small beer in comparison. 

We were here last year for this 12th Night/Epiphany celebration, so we knew roughly what to expect.

Three Kings parade 2019

It is called the Gran Cabalgata de sus Majestades los Reyes Magos de Oriente. And around 6pm the streets fill quickly and noisily.

Needless to say, the parade, which had started up at the Cultural Centre at Plaza del Pescador, took an age to trail over to our spectator spot on Calle Ramon Pino near Plaza de la Iglesia and everyone stood shuffling restlessly beyond 8.45pm.

But eventually it did arrive, met by a huge cheer, a lot of whooping, beating drums and lots of squealing children.

The start of the procession is a fancy-dress costume parade featuring Disney and Pixar characters. They bob and dance along the street, smiling, waving and being nice to the children.

The children seem to intuitively know who all these cartoon characters are, while I am left wondering (cynically) whether Disney and Pixar have donated these elaborate costumes as a gesture of goodwill to the community, or if it is the taxpayer of Los Cristianos who is footing the bill.

Either way, it is clear that the parade is less a festival of religious observance than a street party, a social occasion for people of all ages to let their hair down and celebrate together.

Three Kings parade 2020

The parade draws to a close with a nod to the Bible.

The Three Kings, who had flown in by helicopter earlier in the day, arrive aboard camels. Yes, real camels. The Canary Islands are not that far from the Sahara.

They throw handfuls of sweets into the crowd and excited children scrabble around, scooping them up. The sugar jellies rained down on us like a blessing from the heavens.

Much later I found that one of the jellies, a green one, had landed in the top pocket of my jacket.

Liverpool’s junior team beat Everton 1-0.