Join us January 6 for the Three Kings Celebration
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen and Santa Claus which symbolize Christmas for some and most know that Christmas Day, or December 25th, is celebrated by Christians as the birthday of Jesus Christ. However, for some Christians, especially in Latin America, Spain, and Mexico and those of Hispanic descent here in the United States, the Christmas season does not end until January 6th, also known as Three Kings Day, The Feast of Epiphany, or El Día De Los Reyes.
What is Three Kings Day?
Three Kings Day is the day, according to the Gospel of Matthew, when Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, the Three Kings – or Wise Men or Magi – who had been following a star for 12 days seeking the King of the Jews, arrived in Bethlehem to bring their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child.
This is also the day the observers of this tradition around the world exchange gifts and the children leave out their shoes, instead of stockings, with their wish list and the Three Kings, instead of Santa Claus, leave presents in and around the shoes for the children to discover in the morning. So, even though Santa is long gone, for these children, the gift giving isn’t over until the Three Kings have come.
Three Kings Day Celebrations
Just like traditional Christmas, El Día de Los Reyes celebrations take on many forms, from the elaborate to the serene and low-key. Many towns and cities host parades and even Disneyland gets into the spirit with three days of celebrating. In 2012 Disney tested the reception to the idea of the multi-day event with great results, especially amongst the Hispanic population, prompting them to launch an expanded event the following year to positive reviews from the Hispanic community for the recognition of the expanding Hispanic heritage in the United States.
Another amusement park that joins in celebrating Three Kings Day is Sea World in Orlando Florida with a six-day event that includes the Three Kings Processional, traditional Latin-inspired foods and drinks, a Holiday Feast, the Sea of Trees, and O Wondrous Night.
In a dramatization of the journey of the Wise Men following the star in the East to the manager and the Holy family, visitors can follow the Three Kings and their camels through the park to a live Nativity scene where the story of the Three Kings is told and the traditions of Three Kings Day are recounted to onlookers.
The Sea of Trees depicts a forest of over 100 trees decorated for the Christmas season with thousands of lights while classic Christmas tunes play and a swirl of colored water dances along to delight the senses and bring the magic of Christmas to life.
O Wondrous Night recounts the greatest story ever told, the story of the birth of Jesus, with dozens of songs, puppets, live animals, singing, and special effects brings the nativity to life in a uniquely Sea World way.
Three Kings Day Traditions
A staple of Three Kings Day celebrations is sweet dessert bread known as Rosca de Reyes which means Kings’ Bread or Kings’ Cake and is customarily baked in a circular shape to represent a crown. Hidden inside the baked bread is a small baby Jesus and symbolizes the hiding of baby Jesus from King Herod and his troops who sought Jesus to kill him because Herod considered Him a rival king. The sweet bread is usually embellished with dried fruit to represent the jewels from the Three Kings’ crowns. Whoever receives the piece of the rosca with the figure is tasked with baking tamales February 2nd, or the Day of the Candles. In a break from traditional Rosca de Reyes, in Mexico City some 200,000 celebrants shared a mile-long Kings’ Bread, finishing the nearly nine and one-half ton treat in less than 30 minutes.
In a move similar to leaving carrots for Santa’s reindeer, some leave hay and water for the Kings’ camels that then leave a trail of hay to the children’s gifts from the Three Kings. The celebration, like many others, also includes a special dinner with the Kings’ Bread for dessert.
During this season, visit Palm Beach County Best Restaurants to sample traditional dishes. West Palm Beach Restaurants are some of the best in all of Florida, so be sure not to miss out while visiting or, if you are local, perhaps you have not been to some of these sumptuous establishments and it is time to return. Restaurants in West Palm Beach delight both visitor and native.