Día de los Reyes Magos

Three Kings Parade in Puerto Rico

Three Kings Day

There are many celebrations, fiestas and patrons that people in Hispanic culture commemorate and celebrate.

Dia de los Reyes Magos or Three Kings Day is one of the most beautiful religious traditions amongst Hispanics. We have many religious holidays pertaining to saints, their lives and what they represent and this is one of the most celebrated especially in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Hispanics celebrate Three Kings Day after New Year’s, specifically on January 6. This Hispanic holiday is also called the Epiphany.

This Latino holiday commemorates the day when the Three Wise Men went and followed the star to Bethlehem and found Jesus on the manger. On this day, Los Tres Reyes gave three specific gifts to Baby Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When January 6 approaches, Hispanics make many preparations for this particular day. After December the 31st, children start writing letters to their favorite Wise Man or Rey Mago.

What do Hispanic children write in these letters? They ask Balthazar, Melchor and Gaspar for presents!

In Mexico for example, in the evenings of January 2 to January 5, the whole family goes to Alameda, which is a part in Mexico City. In this park, hundreds of stands are set up full of food and toys. They also have stands where children can have their picture taken with the Three Kings.

There are also a great number of helium filled balloons sold in the park. It’s through these balloons that children’s letters travel to the Three Wise Men of the Orient. The letters are tied to the balloons and the balloons are set to fly. As the balloons float up to the sky, the wishes on the letters are carried with them.

Three Kings Parade in Puerto Rico

Three Kings Parade in Puerto Rico
by Oquendo

Children can also do their letter writing at the Alameda at this time because there are many stalls that sell stationery and envelopes addressed to the Reyes Magos.

In Hispanic culture, on January 5th many families add figurines of Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar to the nativity scene.

In Puerto Rico Dia de los Reyes Magos is a huge event. The custom is for children to place their old shoes under their beds before going to sleep. It’s in these shoes that the Wise Men will leave them the presents they wished for in their letters.

In many houses children leave a bucket of water and hay for the animals, and milk and cookies for the Three Wise Men to eat. Finally, Dia de Reyes arrives. The children wake up with sparkles in their eyes and excitement on their faces, and again there are more presents to open.

kids look under their beds to see the gifts the Three Wise men left for them. The whole day is spent with children running around playing and talking with their friends about the arrival of the Three Wise Men and how they made it to their homes to bring the presents they asked for.

The famous Rosca de Reyes is tradition in Mexico and the family enjoys it with tamales and hot chocolate. Mexicans eat it at a special meal of the day called merienda. To know more about Christmas in other Hispanic countries go to my Hispanic Christmas page.

Believe it or not countries like Spain, Colombia, Malta, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands celebrate Dia de los Reyes Magos or Three Kings Day also.

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  1. I am of Spanish/Mexican heritage on my mother’s side. Part of our celebration as children included leaving a shoe out for the Three Wise Men on the evening of January 5th. On the morning of the 6th, we would get up and search for our shoe to see what gifts and treasures the Wise Men left for us. We never knew where our shoes would end up – sometimes under the bed, or in the closet; other times, outside the front door. Mother always said the Wise Men had a “good sense of humor.”

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