The World Celebrates Three Kings Day

The holidays aren’t over just yet: Three Kings Day is upon us. The international day of observance commemorates the Nativity story of the Three Kings, who are also referred to as the Three Wise Men – Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar – who brought gifts to baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Three Kings Dayor el Día de los Tres Reyes Magos is one of the most significant holiday celebrations across the Caribbean, Latin America, and Spain. For many U.S. Latinos, the day, which lands on January 6th, also remains a widely celebrated tradition. Known formally as the Feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings Day is, to many of its celebrators, more symbolic of Christmas than Santa Claus himself. However, just like Christmas, children wake up to presents (and sometimes candy) left by the three kings on the morning of.

Across Latin America, parts of the Caribbean and the United States, Latinos celebrate Three Kings Day with massive parades and fiestas. Adults host lavish parties on the day of to celebrate the coming of the three kings, while on the night before, children leave their shoes outside the door, or under the bed, along with grass and water for the camels, as they await their morning gifts. These traditions are parallel to the customs of children leaving milk and cookies out for Santa Claus in the United States.

In Spain and Mexico, one of the most important elements of the holiday is edible: the Rosca de Reyes, or the Wreath of the Kings. The Kings Cake symbolizes a crown and is a large, oval-shaped dessert filled with sweetened dried fruit. A small white figurine that represents baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake, which honors the hiding of Jesus from Herod; whoever gets the slice of cake with the figurine has to then host a party on February 2nd – el Dia de la Candelabria.

If you so happen to be in the New York City area today, El Museo del Barrio will be holding its 38th annual parade starting at 11 a.m. The parade will feature camels, floats and presents, and will travel from 106th Street and Lexington Avenue to 115th Street and Park Avenue.

There will also be a parade on Sunday, January 11th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Brooklyn, below the BQE train underpass at Meeker and Graham avenues, according to Centro Voices.

For Miami locals, celebrations will also take place on January 11th along the famous Calle Ocho, and will include celebrities, floats and delicious cuisine.