FAMOUS people, top-flight politicians and their family members, and other high-ranking personalities did not get the VIP seats at Madrid's Three Kings parade tonight (Tuesday) for the first time ever – these were reserved for disabled people and those in poverty instead.
Mayoress Manuela Carmena - who lent the city hall to a charity for an up-market banquet for the homeless on Christmas Eve – sent out 714 invitations for privileged-view seats which were free of charge when the Wise Men from the East came through the city on their floats, handing out sweets and gifts to excited children.
Of these, 220 were sent to residents who are registered as disabled, and another 354 to the capital's most hard-up occupants, who are considered to be at risk of 'social exclusion' due to poverty.
The VIP zone, which allows viewers to watch the parades without queuing up, having to stand by the roadside, or paying for one of the few 'economy class' seats available if they were lucky enough to find one.
These were launched by former minister of justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón when he was mayor of Madrid, but were for 'important' city council and government members or other high-profile figureheads and their guests or partners.
Former mayoress Ana Botella – also PP – continued the tradition and, last year, sent out 1,205 invitations.
Manuela Carmena has continued the custom – but for the disabled and poor rather than the rich and powerful.
Over 1,800 chairs were set up in the Plaza de Cibeles for the spectacular, colourful parade.
All towns and villages in Spain hold Three Kings parades on the night of January 5, and children write to Balthazar, Casper (pictured) and Melchior asking for presents, which they receive when they get home from the procession.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, January 6) is a bank holiday and the last day of the school holidays, and is normally treated like Boxing Day with entire families gathering together for a meal.