It wouldn’t be Christmas in Spain without some good old-fashioned political controversy.
This time around it’s a decision by the local councils of San Blas-Canillejas and Puente de Vallecas to break with tradition by swapping one of the three kings in their January 5th Epiphany parades with a queen.
The move is in line with a new focus on diversity in the Spanish capital – a shift spurred on by the arrival of left-wing city mayor Manuela Carmena after several years of conservative leadership for the city.
In that same spirit of diversity, Carmena and her council recently decided it was time to draw a line under the practice of having a local politician black up to play the role of King Balthazar in the city’s spectacular Three Kings parade.
The January 5th Three Kings parades are a highlight of Spain’s busy Christmas calendar and see the Three Wise Men, or Magi, parade through cities, towns and villages throughout the country distributing sweets to children.
But it seems the idea of opting for a queen instead of a king in an Epiphany parade is a bridge too far for the conservative Popular Party councillor Isabel Rosell.
She has slammed the move as being gender politics in disguise and “lacking in common sense”, national Spanish daily El País reports.
But speaking on Tuesday, Marta Gómez, a councillor with the Ahora Madrid platform of the Madrid mayor, said doesn’t see “any problem” with the plan.
She did admit, though, that the district where the parade was being held was very active when it came to women's rights.
And she also conceded she didn’t know “how the children” attending the parade would take the presence of a queen.
Spain's Three Kings parade come the night before Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, the day when Spanish children traditionally receive their Christmas presents.