Spectators return to Spain’s Epiphany parades after virus pause

Spectators once again lined the streets of Spain's cities on Wednesday for the annual Epiphany parades after many of last year's spectacles were scaled down and closed to the public.

Three Kings parade in Madrid
Three Kings parade takes place in Madrid. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Multitudes of parents and children traditionally pack the streets of Spain’s cities to watch decorative floats carrying people dressed as the biblical kings who are believed to have brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

This year Madrid city hall tried to limit attendance to 7,000 spectators who obtained free tickets online, but many more people turned up along the roughly three-kilometre-long (1.8-mile) route despite sometimes heavy rainfall.

While in Barcelona, spaces weren’t limited and the parade was attended by some 950,000 people, according to the city’s Guardia Urbana. 

This year however Barcelona’s parade was scaled back to make it shorter and featured some 800 participants – 500 fewer than a normal year. 

READ ALSO: Why Spain loves the Three Kings more than Santa

Both Madrid and Barcelona decided not to throw sweets into the crowd, like normal, to prevent spectators from coming in close contact as they scramble to catch them and lowering their masks to eat them. 

This year’s parade in Madrid featured a giant mechanical elephant, live camels and acrobats, as well as a traditional fireworks display at the end.

Barcelona’s parade was also slightly different this year featuring new costumes, a giant puppet and all the kings on one float, instead of three separate ones. 

Last year both Madrid and Barcelona held televised ceremonies welcoming the arrival of the Magi with no members of the public allowed.

Christmas gifts are traditionally given in Spain and in many Latin American countries on January 6th, when Western Christianity observes Epiphany, the visit the three kings made to the baby Jesus.

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Top Spanish designers Victorio and Lucchino get own museum

Top Spanish fashion designers Victorio and Lucchino, who have dressed singers and aristocrats, on Thursday inaugurated a museum dedicated to their works in their southern home region of Andalusia.

Top Spanish designers Victorio and Lucchino get own museum

The museum housed in a centuries-old former convent in the southern city of Palma del Río displays a retrospective of their creations, which are characterised by bright colours and the use of lace and ruffles.

It includes fabrics, dress prototypes, shows, accesseries and jewellery from a career spanning nearly five decades.

“It is a nice finishing touch to our professional careers, a satisfaction, to leave a vestige of our work to future generations,” Jose Luis Medina del Corral, 68, who goes by the alias Lucchino, told AFP before the museum’s opening.

Lucchino and Jose Victor Rodriguez Caro, 72, who goes by the alias Victorio, met as teenagers in the 1960s and soon became a couple, united by their passion for fashion.

They joined forces in 1975 to create the Victorio y Lucchino brand, and burst onto the international scene a decade later by taking part in the New York International Fair.

Their creations have since appeared on catwalks in Japan, Germany, Italy and the United States, worn by top models such as Claudia Schiffer and Elle McPherson.

The duo’s customers have included one of Spain’s most famous singers, Rocio Jurado who died in 2016, and Spain’s late Duchess of Alba, one of Europe’s wealthiest aristocrats.

Spanish designers Jose Victor Rodriguez (L) and Jose Luis Medina, also known as “Victorio” and “Lucchino” pose for pictures during the inauguration of their museum at the Covento de Santa Clara in Palma del Rio, near Córdoba. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP)

She wore a salmon-coloured dress with a moss-green sash by Andalusian designers at her 2011 wedding to a civil servant at her palace in Seville.

The designers say they have long drawn inspiration from the culture of Andalusia, Spain’s centre for flamenco and bullfighting.

“Every creator lives from the land where he lives,” said Victorio who was born in Palma del Rio.