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Last I looked we were deep into January. The festive season is supposed to be a distant memory. Tinsel packed away, the useful gifts eaten or healthily grubby, the useless ones stowed in the top cupboard for re-gifting. Not here, we are not finished yet. We had two days back and it started again. You don’t see a whole lot of conventional religion in Ibiza. We’re all Catholic, whatever, type of thing.
So good on them for elevating the status of ‘Three Kings’ to something that seems to me, to have a status beyond Christmas. Not only do they do a second round of kids’ present giving, but it’s an opportunity to wheel out the country’s taste for pageantry. Me and my crowd, we can’t get onboard with the presents. We are wiped out from the Christmas session . We have nothing left. But the pageantry,that we can do, though with affectionate confusion on our faces. They started observing Three Kings’ Day or ‘Reyes Magos’ only the last 1800s. So it’s old but not, Jesus old. Less a centuries old religious commemoration, more a love of a community party. Not so very post the desperate Franco years, well done to the Spanish for resurrecting your dynamic and festively expressed culture.
We watched our first parade seven years ago. We went down to San Antonio for February carnival, another massive event that they celebrate in Spain, because, well because there’s a carnival at the same time in Rio. There they go again. Clever. Get all the good stuff. So we just had the older two off-spring in those days and there was a popular song at the time, by Enrique Iglesias, and British radio was playing a sanitised version the main lyric playing ‘Tonight I’m loving you’. In our free and open, beloved Ibiza, no such censorship exists and we stood on the street-side, watching a sparkling float full of little kids dressed in tutus as fairies and little boys as pirates, with the words ‘Tonight I’m f****ng you,’ blasting all around.
The extra joy attached to all of this extended frivolity is that my kids are still on school holiday. Still. Has it been months? I think so. I know this because the rosé seems to get opened at lunchtime these days, something must be driving it to me. Heavenly for them. They return on the 11th January. That sounds alarmingly close to the next school holiday date.
This year’s parades were charming, so I’m told. I have to level with you, it has been balmy by day but has turned super windy by night. So I told OH that it was too late and cold to take the baby out and he went out with the older two. They did a multi-town binge. They started in Santa Eularia, watched a bit of the parade, ran back to the car, flew across to Cala de Bou and then even caught a bit of the action in Sant Josep. I’m sure for OH is was mainly about parking prowess but the kids loved it. They handed letters with present requests to the Kings, albeit I told them Santa already answered on the 25th and the big news from Ibiza was that this year, instead of throwing hard boiled sweets, the Kings threw soft and gluten free sweets. I guess it was only a matter of time before health and safety and allergy awareness invaded our island.
A post-script. I have just received an email from Morna, the kids’ school. Due to urgent electricity works, school now returns on Tuesday 12th. I tell no word of a lie. My kids have just heard the news and are literally whooping for joy. I guess those electricity workers needed one more festive day. Fair enough. Let’s line up the floats (again).