American in Spain

Polishing Shoes

January 6, 2010
Shoes out for Wise Men to fill with gifts

According to Spanish tradition, on the night before January 6th, the same three wise men who visited Jesus when he was born fly around Spain on their three camels, land on the roofs of houses, rappel down to each balcony, break in, and leave gifts for the little girls and boys who have been good all year long. They especially make sure to fill the shoes that the little children have left out for that purpose. Does this sound at all familiar to my American audience?

I learned a lot of this last night as it was being explained to my daughter why her shoes needed to be polished. Apparently first impressions are important in this arena. So we each set out our shoes last night for the Wise Men to find and fill with goodies. Cleaning shoes before Wise Men come

Cleaning our shoes is fun!

Cleaning shoes before Wise Men come

But not as fun as waving your arms in the air while someone else cleans your shoes for you!

Shoes out for Wise Men to fill with gifts

Can you tell who each of these shoes belongs to?

And the next morning...

Present from the Wise Men!

Woohoo! A present came!

We weren't sure which shoe it was closest to, so we opened it together. It was a nice doll with a shirt that makes crinkly noises. We decided that, since Nora was the only one that polished her shoes, she probably deserved the present more than the grownups did.