What Is Día de Los Reyes Magos?
Everything to know about January 6, a day to honor the three wise men.
What is Día de Los Reyes Magos?
In the Latino community, Día de Los Reyes, also known as Three Kings' Day or Epiphany, is celebrated on January 6 to honor the Three Wise Men — Los Tres Reyes Magos — who brought gifts to Jesus Christ. The day also marks the close of Christmas festivities. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the kings Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar found the baby by following a star across the desert to Bethlehem.
The gold offered by one of the wise men is a symbolic acknowledgment of Jesus's standing as "King of the Jews," while the frankincense gift represents the baby's divinity and the myrrh represents his mortality.
How is it celebrated?
The usual traditions for Día de Los Reyes are gifts. Children place their old shoes out before going to bed the night before, and in the morning, the shoes are filled with toys and gifts from the Three Kings. There's also a feast, of course, and children sometimes make crowns to wear at the table in honor of the kings. Some communities host parades, and Disneyland puts on a three-day celebration. In Sacramento, there are a few Three Kings' Day celebrations, with larger celebrations happening across California.
One of the most important traditions of the day is the Rosca de Reyes or the Three Kings Bread. The traditional holiday bread is round in shape as a symbol of a king's crown. Baked within the folds of bread is a clay or porcelain baby Jesus figurine, and whoever finds it must then host a party for everyone on Día de la Candelaria, or the Candlemas on February 2. In Mexico, thousands gather every year to taste a mile-long Kings Bread.
Many families also leave a box of grass or hay and water out for the kings' camels to eat.