By Keren Montero
Three Kings Day is a day celebrated on January 6th to honor the three wise men who gave gifts to Jesus Christ when he was born. This day is sometimes also called the Epiphany. In places like Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Spain this is a very special holiday. Dia de los Reyes is a day where the Christmas holiday officially ends for most Christians in Spain and Latin America, known as the 12th day of Christmas. It is called the 12th day of Christmas because it is believed that the three wise men walked the desert for twelve days, following a star to get to baby Jesus. In places like Madrid, it is celebrated with a huge parade and in Spain Three Kings Day is even considered more important than Christmas and kids sometimes wait until this day to open their presents.
When my mother was younger she participated in this holiday. Her siblings and she would leave grass in a box and a glass of water under their beds for “the camels” that traveled with the Three Kings, similar to leaving cookies and milk out for Santa Claus. When they would wake up, everything was gone and a gift was left for them as an exchange. She said, “Y nosotros contentos porque dejaban la caja vacía y creíamos que los camellos se lo llevaron de verdad,” (“we were happy because they left the boxes empty so we thought the camels really took it”). She was excited to wake up on January 6th like if it was Christmas day. This tradition still exists and many Latinos participate to represent the Three Kings and their journey to baby Jesus.