By Iride Aparicio

Three Kings.jpg

New York, New York - The festivity known as the "Three Kings Day Celebration," originated in the Catholic church where the Mass' Gospel on January 6, (Mat 2:1-12) may read as follows: "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, and three Kings (probably astronomers) from the East, arrived in Judea following thr star (believed to be a planet) wich they believed was the sign, and asked King Herod during their visit.  "Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and come to Bethlehem of Judea to do him homage, for his birth has been written on the stars."

Being the King of Judea, the birth of a new king troubled Herod very much, but he send them on their way reqyesting that they came back and let him know where this "new king" had been born because he wanted to adore him himself. The kings left Herod's palace and continue following the star until it stopped over a manger. There, they kneeled and worshiped Jesus. but warned by a dream, they never returned to Herod's palace to tell him where the manger was located." 

The above written gospel, or another version of it, has been for Centuries the Gospel read in Catholic churches around the world every January 6th, which is called "The Epiphany of the Lord" by the church. And as a part of the Christmas Holidays, Catholics celebrate on this day the arrival to the manger of these three kings (also called "WISE MEN" because they recononized Jesus as the son of God) GASPAR, MELCHOR and BALTAZAR, to worship Baby Jesus bring him three symbolical gifts: Gold, because he was a king and was going to be known in the future as the King of the Jews. Frankincense, a plant used in Christian rituals, and He was the son of God and Myrrh, a plant used during burials, because without being recognized as God's son he was going to be crucified.

And because these three kings brought gifts to Jesus, in Spain and in other Catholic  countries, including Mexico, the people re-enact their visit to Baby Jesus, and elegantly attired as kings and acturally riding camels, parade on elegant parades on the streets. And the three kings, continue bringing gifts, but this time to all the children, because it is in January 6th when children find their Christmas gifts wrapped under the Christmas tree or close to their shoes.

Every year (before the Pandemic) Among the many churches and museums celebrating Epiphany, the Museo Del Barrio in New York City, celebrated the day with a colorful street parade which included Camels and lots of musical acts. And inside, among the food delicacies served La torta de Reyes, which is a cake, in which a tiny doll (signifying baby Jesus) was placed when baked. According to tradition, the person finding the tiny doll in his/her piece of cake, has to organize a party in his or her house. The museo, however instead of baking tortas, placed small sugar dolls into sweet rounds of bread and shared this rolls with all their guests.

"El Día de los Reyes" was also celebrated (before the Pandemia) in CAJITITLAN de Los Reyes in México, where aside from a mass, a favorite ritual was the parade where large statues of the Three Kings paraded from the church through the streets, accompanied by dancers, musicians, children in costume, and prancing horses. 

Another Mexican ritual on this day in CAJITITLAN near Guadalajara, was the boating event where the three kings reach the shore of the lake, each one driving his own motorboat and then the race begins, with the kings and their entourage circling the lake, racing, each other as the crowd cheers.

This year,  on its 44th year the MUSEO DEL BARRIO won't be able to have a parade because of the pandemia, but following its tradition, will celebrate "El Día de Los Reyes" online:  

And everybody around the world is invited.