Words from the Wardrobe

The Three Wise Men in Spain

In Spain, it’s not Santa Claus that brings the gifts; those come from the Three Wise Men on the 6th of January.

Unlike the UK, for Spanish people, Christmas kicks off on the 25th of December and continues until the 6th of January.

Why are traditions important for marketing campaigns?

For companies selling products in different countries, it’s essential to understand the target country’s culture for religion.

Even if people aren’t very religious, they observe some of their traditions, which is a good opportunity for companies.

In Spain and other countries that follow Catholic traditions, the Christmas season is longer, as I’ve just said.

And global businesses should adjust marketing campaigns to suit these preferences.

Therefore, your translated content should talk about the Three Wise Men in Spain, candy coal and nougat, besides Santa, stockings and candy canes.

Did you notice that I said ‘besides’ and not ‘instead of’?

Spain is a welcoming country, and we have adopted many traditions from other countries.

However, these new habits haven’t replaced ours, that’s why in your Christmas content, you can play with both cultures.

When should you start translating your Christmas content?

Although Black Friday is increasingly popular in Spain and it’s a campaign many people use to prepare their Christmas presents, others consider that the official launch of the Christmas campaign in Spain is the bank holiday of the 6th and 8th of December.

Two national holidays that many people convert into a 3-5 holiday to travel, decorate their homes and start buying their presents.

Therefore, you should prepare your campaigns and allow time for translations and cultural adaptation.

I translate Christmas campaigns for some e-commerce clients around October-November to give you an idea.

Yes, by the time you’re reading this post, you’re probably late, but you can take this as good advice for your 2023 marketing calendar. 😉

Back to the Three Wise Men in Spain, discover the history behind the tradition and what happens on the 6th of January.

Parades for Three Wise Men in Spain

As you might know, the Three Wise Men (also known as the Magi or The Three Kings) followed a star and came to pay homage to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

They offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

And this is why they bring presents to children.

Since the 19th century, Spanish towns and cities have been putting on parades to mark the occasion. We love a fiesta! 🎉

It’s common to see floats with effigies of the Three Wise Men in Spain, sometimes played by local dignitaries. 

The colourful, fun, light-hearted parades make their way through the streets, throwing handfuls of sweets out over the crowds. 

But much like with Father Christmas, Spanish children must go to bed straight after the parades, so they don’t miss out on gifts from the Wise Men.

Traditions to follow if you want The Three Wise Men to leave you a nice present

Although the Three Wise Men do not visit children until the night before the 6th of January, children have to write their letters in advance to let them know what they want to get.

In these letters, they usually explain to their majesties if they have been good boys and girls, what they want for them and what they want for their family.

They can give their letters to the Royal Pages, who come to their city some weeks before the kings, or, if they have been delayed, they can hand it to their majesties a couple of days before the parade.

An example of a letter to the Three Wise Men in Spain.
An example of a letter to the Three Wise Men in Spain. Source: edufichas.com

It’s tradition for children to leave their best sparkling clean shoes by the tree for the Three Wise Men in Spain.

For what reason?

Well, where else would the Three Wise Men put all the gifts? 😊

Milk, cookies for the Wise Men, and water for the camels are nearby.

After all, it’s a long night for them all!

Writing a letter to the Three Wise Men doesn’t guarantee children will get the presents they’re eager for, however.

Good children can expect some nice gifts.

The naughty ones, well, for them – it’s a lump of coal!

Children’s shoes are under the tree, ready to receive gifts from the Three Wise Men in Spain.
Children’s shoes are under the tree, ready to receive gifts from the Three Wise Men in Spain.

Children’s shoes are under the tree, ready to receive gifts.

Spend the 6th of January in Spain

What better way to get over the traditional post-Christmas slump and depressing January than treating yourself to a holiday in Spain?

Lonely Planet has some great tips on where and how to celebrate.

Although I usually spend Christmas visiting my family in Barcelona (and celebrating my birthday), I’m at home in Torremolinos by King’s Day to ensure I don’t miss any of the presents I’ve included in my letter 😉

I hope you have been good boys and girls and the Three Wise Men in Spain (or Santa) brings you lots of presents, health and work. 

And maybe a Christmas campaign translated and adapted to Spain for next year?

See you for the next post!

Prêt-à-translate T. (+34) 606 721 782 Legal notice Privacy policy Cookies Policy