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Mallorca Christmas cavalcade

The Three Kings arrive in spectacular style

If you're unfamiliar with the way the Spanish celebrate Christmas it may come as a surprise to hear that the main festive activity takes place not on the 25th December but at epiphany or 12th night, the 5th/6th January. That's the time we mark the arrival of the Three Kings from the east bearing gifts and up until a few years ago was the day when the kids received their 'Christmas' presents.

All over Spain and Mallorca the Three Kings, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar (don't ask me which is which) arrive with their retinues of pages and servants in an ever more showbizzy manner every year. The cavalcades through the streets of the country's towns and cities seem to grow bigger and ever more glitzy on an annual basis and so it is with Palma's 2017 parade on 5th January.

Festivities start in the Paseo del Borne at 17:00 when there's a big show for the arrival of the Royal Pages with the mounted police, municipal band, drummers and a phalanx of traditional giants and big heads typical of Mallorca. The Kings themselves will as usual be arriving by boat at the Moll Vell pier in the centre of Palma at 18:00 and will board 10 floats, beautifully decorated in a maritime theme and will parade round Palma's main streets for 2 and a half hours.

Accompanied by 3 technical vehicles and 20 bands of entertainers – drummers, musicians, dancers, a circus – the parade throws around 5,000 tons of sweets to the massed crowds in the streets before the parade ends in front of the Casal Solleric at the top of the Borne.

It's great fun and is a spectacular show for young and old, well worth seeing if you are in Palma. For safety reasons there are around 3000 metres of barriers installed in the streets and special areas cordoned off for disabled people and sadly, in view of recent terrorist events in Berlin and Nice, specially lorry barriers are also being installed at key points on the route.

Enjoy it if you are there.