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Catalan Traditions – Epiphany

For the children in Barcelona, Catalonia and in whole of Spain the 5th of January is one of the most important days of the year as in the evening they receive their Christmas presents by the “Three Kings” (Els Tres Reis).

So when you are visiting Barcelona around this date the whole city will be in excitement. The shops dedicate their decoration to the special occasion. Big department stores such as El Corte Inglés in Plaça Catalunya will even have a full floor with children´s toys often combined with sale. You can expect long lines at the checkouts and an incredible hectic in the stores.

Tortell de Reis

January 6 – which is Epiphany or the day of the Three Wise Men according to the Catholic liturgical calendar – concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas.

On this day it is the tradition to eat a cake called “Tortell de Reis”. It is a round shaped cake filled with marzipan or whipped cream.

Within the “Tortell de Reis” two hidden surprises can be found: a dried field bean, and a tiny figurine of one of the three kings. The lucky one who gets the figurine is allowed to wear a paper crown. The person who finds the bean in his or her slice of cake will have to pay for the cake!

We recommend the bakery Baluard in Barceloneta for buying a cake. Family run in the fourth generation this bakery sticks to traditional baking processes. Their bread is made of dough that fermented for at least 15 hours. This way Baluard is setting an example for that it is still possible in present days to produce healthy food for reasonable prices.

Top tips to feel like a local

– Go to the department store El Corte Inglés at Plaça Catalunya just before January 6th

– Buy a “Tortell de Reis” in a bakery and share it with your friends and family. Who will become the lucky King?

– Learn more about local history and legends during our private tour “Explore hidden streets” and discover a labyrinth of streets away from the mass tourism

Where to go

– El Corte Inglés, Avinguda del Portal de l’Àngel, 19, 08002 Barcelona

– Baluard Barceloneta, Carrer Baluard, 38, 08003 Barcelona

– Baluard Poblenou, Carrer Marià Aguiló, 51, 08005 Barcelona

– Baluard Pau Calais, Carrer Pau Claris, 188, 08037 Barcelona

– Baluard Provenza, Carrer Provença, 279, 08037 Barcelona (Hotel Praktik Bakery)

– The Barcelona Feeling, Tour: Explore hidden streets, Meeting point: Plaça de Urquinaona 2, just outside the H10 Hotel Urquinaona

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