Three Kings Day is celebrated every year on January 6th, when the children prepare for their arrival eager to receive gifts (similar to Christmas Day). This tradition is not only carried out in Mexico, but also in other countries around the world such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and many others in Latin America. This celebration commemorates the adoration of the son of God born in Bethlehem. The three wise men were guided from the east by a star, bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh as presents. According to Catholicism, this day coincides with that of the Epiphany, which is one of the oldest liturgical celebrations that means revelation or apparition. This date also symbolizes the end of the Christmas period.
The Story of The Three Wise Men
The wise men are first mentioned in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, although they're not mentioned as kings, or wise men or only three. Throughout the years, this story has transcended time in such a way that in the Middle Ages their names and characteristics have been given to them as: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar.
The story tells that the three wise men went through Jerusalem to see King Herod and ask him about the "King of the Jews" who had just been born. He told them that once they found him he would go to worship him. In dreams and through an angel, the three kings had the revelation of Herod's true intentions and took another way back after worshiping the baby Jesus to avoid returning to Jerusalem.
Guided by a brilliant star, the Three Kings, regally attired and mounted on a camel, a horse and an elephant to set out on their journey to adore baby Jesus with gifts. It has been said that the three kings came from different parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is also said that they were powerful, wise and noble men, monarchs of the east. Their gifts included gold for the newborn king, myrrh for the newborn man, and incense for the newborn God. In addition, the Kings represent the first gentile converts to Christianity.
La Rosca de Reyes (Kings Bread)
Another Día de Los Reyes tradition is to split the rosca! A group of friends and family is usually invited and each one must take the knife to cut their portion. Inside the bread there are one or several small plastic dolls (each one represents baby Jesus) and the person who finds it is suppose to offer a party with tamales and atole on February 2nd known as Candlemas Day. Interesting fact: In the past, the figures used to be made of porcelain, but because of safety precautions now they are made of synthetic material. Currently the rosca game consists of family and friends gathering and having a fun time together. This is a beautiful tradition that many still celebrate and is a very popular day for lots of people across Mexico.
Do you celebrate el Día de Los Reyes? Tell us what you do on this day!