There is something about ‘El día de los Reyes’

Over the years, many of us celebrated January 6 as “El Día de los Reyes,” or the day the Three Wise Men visited the baby Jesus. The story comes from the New Testament:

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 

For centuries, children in Spain, France, and other countries with a strong Catholic influence got gifts from their families on this day.  It is one of the greatest traditions.  Spain brought this tradition to Latin America.

As a kid growing up in Cuba, I remember that this day became the equivalent of what Santa Claus is in the U.S. For example, we would write letters to the three kings (we called them kings, not wise men) and request presents.  In fact, kids would write a letter to their favorite king.  A few days before Christmas, my father used to take our letter and promise to mail it.

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