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Three Kings Day
Dia de los Reyes

Three Kings Day, Feast of the Epiphany, or Dia de los Reyes is a Christian holiday
celebrating the three Magis visit to the New Born King to welcome Him and deliver gifts on January 6th. The 3 wise men, Melchior, a Persian scholar, Casper, or Jasper, an Indian Scholar and Balthazar a Babylonian Scholar, traveled from the east following the Star of Bethlehem or North Star, to deliver gifts to the newborn Son. The star lead them to the manger where they knelt down and delivered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Today Three Kings Day is celebrated by Latinos all over the world on January 6th of every year. In Mexico the folks serve “Rosca de Reyes” a sweet bread decorated with candied fruits to symbolize jewels and a baby Jesus toy inside. Whomever gets the slice with Jesus has to hold a “Dia de la Candelaria” in February. In Spain, children put a wish list on top of their shoes before bed and wake up with candy and gifts on, around, and/or in their shoes. Three Kings day is celebrated all over Latin America, the Caribbean, and in Spain.

In Westchester County, many celebrate in schools, churches and centers.
Organizations such as The Weschester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association and 100 Hispanic Women hold toy drives for the less fortunate children, while at the same time teaching folks about the customs.

I remember in Puerto Rico, my sister and I put hay in a box and slid it under our beds and we woke up to the hay gone and in its place some presents.

Baking “ Rosco de Reyes” is a tradition as well as leaving shoes under the bed or outside the door. Whatever does not fit in the shoes is left right next to it. Grass is always left for the camels. A traditional holiday meal may contain pasteles or tamales these days.

But one thing we Puerto Ricans and other Latinos can guarantee you is that there will be a Paranda and a celebration with festive music as well as good food for all, including the hay for the camels. The party is not over for us on New Years, so keep that Coquito flowing! Feliz Navidad, Prospero Año Nuevo, Y bien Dia de los Reyes!!!

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