Valencia loves a good parade. It’s a great way to observe cultural expressions while mixing with a huge group of people. On this night, we were celebrating the final night of the Christmas season, La Noche Reyes, or the night that the three kings visited Bethlehem to dispense some mighty interesting gifts and an even more interesting warning to get the heck out of town and head for Egypt. The three kings sort of fill the function that we expect of Santa Claus, by weighing the merits of children and dispensing gifts (or, alternatively, coal) during the night.

About a bazillion people filled the town center area, lining the streets with family and friends, loads of children, and an air of expectation. The parade itself was an interesting combination of floats, some sponsored by companies, and some from social groups. Loads of candy was flung out to the crowd (no moon pies, though!) and many of the people on the floats interacted with the crowd. Some of the floats were incredible, with lighting and music making it easy to see the artistry.

The three kings, Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar, were the final floats. Surrounded by troops of costumed performers dressed in the traditional costumes of the area of the king, each was ushered into the final parade lap in the city center. Next year, I am going to be much closer so I can see even more of the parade!

Oh, and gentle reader, if you think these pictures are blurry, grainy, or poorer quality, you are right. My poor camera was doing its best to a) keep up the with action, b) focus on EVERYTHING, and c) take decent pictures in a low-lighting setting. Plus, I am tinkering with a scaling application that makes the pictures smaller, but with limited success. Sigh. You can imagine the pictures that I did NOT include in this post.

DSCN3444 copy DSCN3338 copy

DSCN3337 copy DSCN3332 copy DSCN3319 copy DSCN3339 copy DSCN3342 copy DSCN3343 copy DSCN3358 copy

DSCN3381 copy DSCN3385 copy DSCN3388 copy DSCN3395 copy DSCN3404 copy DSCN3410 copy DSCN3414 copy DSCN3425 copy DSCN3445 copy DSCN3454 copyAnd the three kings:

DSCN3467 copy DSCN3477 copy DSCN3489 copyAnd Gaspar giving me a perfect photo opportunity while his float paused in front of my location…

Gaspar Closeup