Día de Los Tres Reyes • Three Kings Day

Día de Los Reyes or Three Kings Day takes place on January 6th each year, it marks the peak as well as the end of Christmas. While the rest of the world has already packed up their festive mood, Latinos continue their annual celebrations and even turn it up a notch. Besides being a day of fiesta, it holds significant religious importance and age-old traditions.


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In many Latin-American countries, a parade is held along the main street, where locals gather to rejoice in the occasion. Riding through the city in their camels or elaborate caravan, the Kings adorn dazzling costumes, shimmering crowns and huge smiles. Armed with bags of candies, the Kings throw the brightly coloured sweets to children lining the streets. Not only do the young ones enjoy the revelry, people of all ages take to the streets to join in the fun.

In the evening, as children return home for an early night, they leave out their shoes in the most conspicuous spot where the Kings can secretly fill up with gifts. To lure in the symbolic Three Kings, children set out goodies as well as hay and fruit peelings to feed their camels.

Come morning, the children wake up to discover that the goodies have been nibbled upon, hay eaten by the camels, and their shoes filled with wrapped presents. It’s this moment of the Christmas season that they have been waiting for – brand new belongings for the start of a brand new year. The spirit of giving continues to live on as Latinos continue to worship the three Kings.

According to Mexican tradition, Día de Los Reyes is celebrated with rosca de reyes, a ringed cake with a baby figurine baked into the batter, topped with fruit in the colors of the Mexican flag. Tradition dictates that whoever finds the baby must bring tamales to the Feb. 2 celebration of Día de la Candelaria, or Candlemas Day. In very large roscas, multiple babies are hidden in the cake, resulting in more tamales and a bigger party.

In Rhode Island, several Mexican bakeries sell the rosca de reyes. For a list of Latino bakeries, visit this page.

How do other Latin-American countries celebrate? Why don’t you tell us - write below what are your traditions for Three Kings Day.

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