2 Día de ReyesLatin and Hispanic countries celebrate Kings Day. This is a special day where the Three Kings are honored. The 12 days of Christmas lead up to this day, the great Epiphany, where the 3 Kings came to bring gifts to the baby Jesus.
4 El Rey MelchorMelchor was the Sultan of Arabia. He was the oldest of the Magi Saints. Melchor had a long white beard and wore elegant robes. His gift was gift was frankincense, which is distilled from a tree in Arabia. This was burned in the Temple services to produce a fragrance that honored God. Saint Melchor’s figure goes before the others in the manger scene.
5 El Rey GasparGaspar was the Emperor of the Orient (Persia) and ruled over all oriental lands. He is also represented with white hair. His clothes were gilded in gold. King Gaspar's gift was gold. It is said that Gaspar traveled the furthest to visit the Christ Child.
6 El Rey BaltazarBaltazar was a Nubian King and ruler of Ethiopia. Baltazar was dressed in exquisite robes. His gift was myrrh, a precious and aromatic resin that comes from the bark of thorny African trees. Myrrh was used to symbolize suffering. It was one of the ingredients of the holy ointment. It is also used in medicine and as a perfume.
8 Pocos días antes del sies de enereo A couple of days earlier, the children write their letters to the Wise Men, or to their favorite Rey Mago: Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltasar, asking for the presents they would like to receive.During the evenings before the great celebration on January 6, families go to the Alameda, in Mexico City, a beautiful park that dates back to the Colonial era. There, every year, hundreds of stands are placed with food, toys and best of all, there are sets, where the children can have their picture taken with the Three Kings of the Orient.Hundreds of multicolored balloons, filled with helium, are sold during the season, so the little ones can attach their letters to them, and have them fly, up to the sky, carrying all their wishes with them. If they forgot their letters at home, there is no need to worry, there are also salesmen that offer writing paper and envelopes specially designed for the occasion and addressed to the Reyes Magos
9 Víspera de ReyesOn La Víspera de Reyes (the Eve of Three Kings Day) Puerto Rican children cut grass to put in a shoe box under their bed for the camels to eat. Their "wish list" is placed on top of the grass. The Reyes only come if the children have been good all year. If the children are awake, the Kings bypass the house.On this night children sleep lightly listening for any strange noises, whispers, or maybe sounds of the camels' hooves. Sometime during the night Los Reyes arrive and quietly leave their gifts for the children while their camels enjoy their snack.
10 *Día de los reyes*In the morning everyone is filled with the joy and the laughter of happy children enjoying their new toys. It is a day full of celebration.Later in the day a holiday dinner is prepared and friends and relatives join in the festivities. Relatives bring the children the boxes left under their beds, now empty of grass but filled with gifts.
11 LA ROSCAPeople go to the markets and stores to get the needed ingredients to prepare the feast.All over the country, in every city and in every little town, bakeries offer the Rosca de Reyes, an oval sweetbread, decorated with candied fruit. There are Roscas of all sizes, very small ones for two or three people and up to the ones that will delight more that twenty people.The Merienda de Reyes is truly a multicultural event. The Spaniards brought the tradition of celebrating the Epiphany and sharing the Rosca to the New World. The Rosca is served along with Tamales, made of corn which was the pre-Hispanic food per excel lance, and hot chocolate. Chocolate is also a gift from the native peoples of the New World.Hidden inside this delicious Rosca, a plastic figurine of the Baby Jesus. The Baby is hidden because it symbolizes the need to find a secure place where Jesus could be born. Each person cuts a slice of the Rosca . The knife symbolizes the danger in which the Baby Jesus was in. One by one the guests carefully inspect their slice, hopping they didn't get the figurine.Whoever gets the baby figurine shall be the host, and invite everyone present to a new celebration on February 2, Candelaria or Candle mass day, and he also shall get a new Ropón or dress for the Baby Jesus of the Nativity scene.
12 LA CANCIÓN DE LOS REYES MAGOS Los tres Santos Reyes, los tres y los tres, los tres Santos Reyes, los tres y los tres, Los saludaremos con divina fe, los saludaremos con divina fe.Los tres santos Reyes, yo los sé contar, Los tres santos Reyes, yo los sé contar, Gaspar y Melchor y el Rey Baltazar. Gaspar y Melchor y el Rey Baltazar.Llegan con cautela, la Estrella los guía Llegan con cautela, la Estrella los guía se sientes sus pasos, en la noche fría se sientes sus pasos, en la noche fríaSeñores, adiós doy la despedida al corazón santo, dulce de María Señores, adiós doy la despedida al corazón santo, dulce de MaríaSeñores adiós porque ya nos vamos Señores adiós porque ya nos vamos todos los presentes pasen feliz año todos los presentes pasen feliz año
13 Los desfilesEn muchas ciudades la gente celebra el día de los tres Reyes Magos. La gente asisita a un desfile