January 6, Three Kings Day Tradition in Puerto Rico
January 6th, is Three Kings Day in Puerto Rico also known as " el dia de los tres reyes mago", this day is remembered as the day the three wise men bought baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and Myrrh. According to Huffington Post, latino voices article. "For Christians, Christmas and holiday does not end until twelve days of Christmas which is the "feast of the epiphany" or "three kings day". The day of January 6th refers to the three Kings who found baby Jesus in the manger by following the North Star to Bethlehem for 12 days. The names of the wise men were" Melchoir, Caspar, and Balthazar representing Europe, Arabia and Africa." The three gifts represent symbols of acknowledged royalty, gold as acceptance that Jesus was "King of the Jews". Frankincense represents Jesus existence as Son of God. Myrrh represents prediction of death of Jesus to cleanse humanity of their sins; myrrh was used in embalming of corpses.
I came across this interesting trivia while researching for this blog post, the Christmas song " The 12 days of Christmas" is a song about the epiphany representing the twelve days of Christmas or three kings day. Who knew?
In Latin America and some European countries celebrate the feast of the epiphany; but in Puerto Rico this holiday has been celebrated since the rule of the Spainards dating back to the 1500s according to parranda.org.
The tradition of January 5th known as" the eve of the feast of the epiphany" or" the vispera de dia de los tres reyes mago" has families adding figurines of the three wise men to the nativity scene. Children have written their letters to the three wise men requesting gifts before December 31st, then the kids place their shoes or shoe boxes filled with cut grass under their beds. The kids anxiously await for the three kings to leave gifts under their beds in the shoe boxes. The following day as the kids find the gifts under the bed, the cut grass is removed to show that the camels ate it. Many families in Puerto Rico celebrate Christmas on December 25th, and still continue to celebrate Three Kings Day to preserve traditional festivals around the island. Puerto Ricans which have moved to the USA bring this tradition to their new communities by sharing good food and celebration in early January.