Spectators return to Madrid Epiphany parade after virus pause
Spectators once again lined the streets of Madrid on Wednesday for its annual Epiphany parade after last year’s spectacle was scaled down and closed to the public.
Multitudes of parents and children traditionally pack the Spanish capital’s sidewalks 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.
And unlike in past years, sweets were not thrown out to the crowd to prevent spectators from coming in close contact as they scramble to catch them.
This year’s parade featured a giant mechanical elephant, live camels and acrobats, as well as a traditional fireworks display at the end.
Last year Madrid held a televised ceremony 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 6, when Western Christianity observes Epiphany, the visit the three kings made to the baby Jesus.
Spain has confirmed nearly seven million Covid-19 cases and almost 90,000 deaths during the pandemic.