Three Kings Day: An Inside Look on an Important Yet Forgotten Christian Holiday

Three Kings Day is a Christian holiday that is very important in Latin America and Spain. It happens at the end of the 12 days of Christmas and is also called Epiphany, or feast day. It mainly celebrates the three wise men or magi, who came to Jesus after his birth.

Shoes left by children in preparation for Three Kings Day

The little kids will write letters to the Three Kings and like Santa Claus on Christmas, in Latin America and Spain the three wise men bring children gifts and leave them in or on top of their shoes. Ms. Alcalá, a spanish teacher says this on the holiday : “The Three Kings will then leave presents for them on top or below their shoes.” The children’s shoes may also contain hay and carrots for the camels and food for the wise men. Traditionally, the children wind up getting their Christmas presents on Three Kings Day.



Residents of New York partaking in a Three Kings Day parade.

Normally, there is also a simulation of Jesus’ birth. People from the town will select a Mary, a Joseph, 3 Kings or Wise Men, and a Jesus. The rest of the town follows them around as shepherds. It is a very beautiful tradition because it truly represents the true meaning of the holiday.



The Three Kings from left to right: Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar

“Something I love about the culture is that they haven’t lost the real meaning of the religious holidays,” said Ms. Alcalá, Valor Spanish teacher.

After Jesus’ birth, the Three Kings did not come the night he was born, as many people believe, but they came weeks, months, or maybe even years after his birth. So they have a separate holiday, a couple of weeks after Christmas to celebrate the pause in events. The Three Kings have names and their own special identities.

“The three kings are Gaspar (or Caspar), Melchior, and Balthasar,” continued Ms. Alcalá.

“Balthasar represents the African King that came to Jesus with Frankincense. Melchior represents the European King that brought gold to Jesus. Gaspar represents an Asian King and brought myrrh to Jesus.”

Overall, the holiday is very special because it celebrates the birth of Jesus, the anticipation and hope after his birth focusing on what really matters.