This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Latina Mom Bloggers and JCPenney.
However, all opinions expressed are my own.
January 6th is a special day in many Latin American countries, including my dear Mexico. It’s El Día de Reyes, or Three Kings’ Day, when families celebrate the visit of the Magi – the three Kings – to the baby Jesus. Also known as Ephiphany, it’s the day when we pay homage to these three wise men who came bearing fine gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the precious newborn many, many years ago.
Up until now, for us, January 6th has just been a regular day. We talk about the birth of Jesus, and read books about the wise men, but we don’t do anything special. It may be about getting more presents (sigh), but this year my kids have requested that we start celebrating Three Kings Day. So that’s just what we’re going to do, in our own way.
We have it all planned out! The night before… on “Noche de Reyes,” after reading a book about the nativity, we’ll add the three Kings figurines to our nativity scene. When the girls go to bed, they’ll leave a pair of their shoes outside their doors, and the Three Kings may just leave a gift or two for them inside (the shoes are so the Kings know how many kids live at our house). Similar to the tradition of leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer, we might even leave some hay (or grass) and a bowl of water for the three Kings’ camels, and some sweet wine for the Kings to share.
When the girls wake up on Monday morning (which I’m hoping will be super early since they go back to school that day!) they’ll look outside their doors to see the gifts that the three Kings left for them. And that evening we’ll have a nice dinner, followed by a slice of Rosca de Reyes (King’s Bread) for dessert. Baked inside the sweet bread that is shaped like a king’s crown is a little plastic “baby jesus” figure. The lucky person that finds baby Jesus in their slice of cake gets to host a party on February 2nd, el Día de la Candelaria. Now I’m not sure about that part, considering it’ll probably be just my husband and the kids eating the cake… so I’d have to make dinner anyway! But I may attempt to make tamales. Maybe. Ask me next month.
After dinner I’ll put the last of the Christmas decorations away… and that’s it for the holiday season! I’m debating buying a pre-made Rosca from a bakery. Like this one, that my cousin bought this week. I still have a few more days to think about it!
This year, JCPenney wants to share the spirit of Latino families in the US, a celebration of real-life holiday traditions. They have a great series of videos that have taught me a lot about how other Latin American cultures celebrate! With so many reasonably-priced gifts to choose from, I may just stop by JCPenney this weekend to pick up a little Three Kings’ gift and check out the after-Christmas sales.
Ann Williams says
What a fun tradition to start. My children leave their shoes out for St. Nick day in early December. I make a traditional Italian bread at Easter that is braided and shaped like a crown of thorns. We put colored eggs in it then. I also make it at Christmas. I could start a similar tradition. I wonder where I could find a baby Jesus to put in it?
Love it and we have been celebrating 12 Days of Christmas and do celebrate Epiphany. When we lived in New Orleans, King Cakes were the rage. We now make them at home since we no longer live in the area.
Laurie - Steals and Deals for Kids says
I had heard of Epiphany but never really knew what it meant. Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great tradition to start with your family!!
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