Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cabalgata de Los Reyes Garachico 2006/7

Los Reyes Garachico 2006

Wrapped up in too many layers against a wind that never blew, thankfully, we made it down to Garachico last night to join all the other kids to await the arrival of The Three Kings. Most people - Christian or not - will be familiar with the basic story and the order of business for the annual parade varies little from year to year (we have already described it here), but this still remains a really entertaining night out for kids of all ages.

Everyone turned out: from sleeping toddlers in push chairs (who proceded to sleep right through fanfares and fireworks) to little old ladies of 80+, going on eight. Even teenagers - those people who, in most situations, "wouldn't be seen dead" at organized activities - helped line the streets and gleefully cheered on their favorite biblical monarch.

One cannot really get across in mere pictures the true atmosphere, excitement and expectation, but here are some shots from the Cabalgata de Los Reyes in Garachico.

The humble and half-ruined stable, complete with manger, was erected outside the church of Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles, while an arabesque facade was added to Garachico's Town Hall to convert it into the Kings' Palace for the night. Roman Centurions stood guard outside the Castillo San Miguel and a Mounted guard, provided by Herod, were sent to accompany the Kings to the outskirts of the city of Garachico Bethlehem. Attendants take care of camel transportation, for Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar.

Los Reyes Garachico 2007

The Three Kings from the West ...

Starting from the Quinta Roja manor house (built by the Marquis in the early 1600s), set among banana plantations the Three Kings travel through the village of San Pedro de Daute and down into Garachico from the west - the opposite direction from the traditional one - making this something of a novelty. Accompanying the Three Kings  mounted on camels are; pages, Roman soldiers, torch bearers, Roman guards on horseback and standard bearers ...

As they approach the San Miguel castle, which has been converted into Herod's residence for the day, they're spotted by the vigilant guards on the battlements who sound their trumpets. The Three Kings then dismount and ready themselves to meet with Herod.

Once on their way again, the Three Kings make their procession along the Calle Esteban de Ponte and other streets of the town, to eventually return to the plaza Glorieta de San Francisco, where the live nativity has been set up in front of the Los Angeles church, the town hall has been dressed up as a palace for the kings, with a fancy facade, canopies and three thrones. Even the frontage of the former San Francisco convent has had faux battlements added to it for the day.

These well-rehearsed events follow a similar format every year, with a live reenactment of the entire Christmas story that usually employs a varying number of real live animals (that don't always do what's expected of them) and a cast of, well, several dozen.

The whole show is brought to a climax with a huge firework display, after which the three kings START their job of dishing out gifts to hundreds of kids, as pages call out their names.

The Three Kings start their journey at around 7 p.m., reaching the main town for the meeting with Herod at around 9 p.m. The rest of the procession and show takes at least another couple of hours, so it's a real value for money night out - especially since it's free - night out.
Booking.com