3 Kings Day

For many Christmas is over on December 26th for others, the Christmas season isn't over for 11 more days!

The Gospel of Matthew tells the story of the three kings (also known as the three wise men) who traveled to Bethlehem to greet baby Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrah. Although the birth of Jesus is celebrated on December 25, the storied 3 Kings didn't actually reach him until twelve days later. For this reason, Three Kings Day is traditionally celebrated 12 days after Christmas Day. This is also why some consider it unlucky to take your tree down before January 6.

The holiday is primarily celebrated in Spain, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, but these communities have shared the tradition all over the world. The holiday is observed with parades, feasts, and parties as people honor the moment the three kings arrived at the birthplace of baby Jesus.

Mexico and other Latin countries celebrate the day by adding figurines of the 3 Wise Men to the nativity on Jan 5. The next day these wise men will have left gifts next to children's shoes. If you would like to celebrate this year, here are a few traditions to consider; set out snacks, gather with family or give gifts.

In some countries—Mexico in particular—it's customary to make "rosca del rey", a sweet bread that represents the kings' crowns. This traditional brioche-like loaf is often decorated with sugar paste and candied fruit and shaped into a ring. Similar to the King's Cake custom at Mardi Gras, there is often a small baby figurine inside one of the slices. Tradition has it the person who finds the baby in their slice must offer tamales to the group or family on February 2, or Candlemas Day. This recipe is widely popular on 3 Kings Day. This is known as Atole. This drink is accompanied with the Rosca de Reyes (bread).

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