Three Kings' Day Celebration in the Hispanic Culture
The Three Kings’ Day, also known as the Feast Of The Epiphany, is a Christian festivity that takes place on January 6 and celebrates the birth of Jesus. According to tradition, The Three Wise Men (or Three Kings) arrive in Bethlehem from the Far East to meet the newborn King of the Jews.
Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, the names of the Three Kings, bring three symbolic gifts with them to give to Jesus: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since then, this event included in the Gospel of Matthew is celebrated in all Spanish speaking countries around the world.
While the celebrations vary from one country to another, the tradition has remained similar all across Latin America and Spain. The festivities start on January 5, also known as the Night of the Kings, and ends the following day with the gifts children receive from the Three Wise Men. This event concludes the 12 days of Christmas within the Hispanic culture.
Let’s cover some of the different traditions in the countries where the Three Kings’ Day is celebrated:
The Aztec country celebrates this day by adding figurines of the Three Wise Men to the nativity on January 5. The following day, Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar will have left gifts next to the shoes the kids put the night before.
The celebration also includes an oval-shaped cake known as Rosca de Reyes or Kings’ cake. Inside the cake, there’s a small figurine of baby Jesus, and tradition holds that whoever gets this figure will have to host a tamales party on February 2, Day of the Candlemas.
After the Three Kings’ Day celebration, Mexicans usually put all ornaments away and conclude the Christmas festivities until the following year.
2. Argentina, Paraguay & Uruguay
The three South American countries celebrate Three Kings’ Day in a similar fashion. In addition to leaving a shoe, however, kids in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay also put grass and water for the camels. The morning of January 6, kids will wake up and see the gifts left by the Magi.
Tradition states that in the Incan country, Francisco Pizarro chose to name Lima the City of the Kings. It so happens that, during the Feast of the Epiphany, Pizarro and two of his companions found the ideal location for Peru’s capital city.
It is also popular to celebrate the day with an event known as the Bajada de los Reyes (Descent Of The Kings) which is more popular than the act of receiving gifts.
4. Puerto Rico
In the Caribbean island, kids fill up a box with grass to give it to the camels of the Magi. In exchange, the Three Wise Men will leave gifts for the children. On the eve of Three Kings’ Day, Puerto Ricans will also sing carols dedicated to the Magi.
Across the Atlantic ocean, the celebration of the Three Kings’ Day is very similar. The night before, every city hosts a parade to welcome the Three Wise Men who have just arrived from the Far East. Once the parade is over, the kids will leave their shoes ready along with some water for the camels, and wake up the following morning with gifts.
Just like in Mexico, in Spain people also eat a Rosca known as Roscón. Instead of hosting a party, however, whoever gets the figurine of baby Jesus will be in charge of paying the following year’s Kings’ Cake. Lastly, a special lottery is held on January 6th known as the Lottery of the Baby, referring Jesus.
The celebrations for the Feast of the Epiphany are very similar, yet each country has added a personal touch to the festivity. This holiday is also celebrated all around the globe, but outside of the Hispanic tradition, the celebrations are somewhat different.
Whether or not you plan to celebrate the Day of Kings on January 6, remember to keep your home insured for any party or celebration. If you need help with home or tenant insurance, our Infinity agents can help you. Call 1-800-INFINITY today to request a free quote, or visit our website.
From your friends at Infinity, have a joyous Día de Reyes with your loved ones.
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