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Celebrating the Day of the Kings

Celebrating the Day of the Kings

In some countries, as in Puerto Rico, the most anticipated day by children at Christmas time comes with the celebration of Three Kings' Day, also known as "Feast of the Epiphany". Children don’t typically receive presents from Baby Jesus or Santa during Christmas in these countries, but from the three Kings on the 6th of January, who travel around the world on their beautiful camels. At IBA, we are happy to keep this tradition alive and celebrate this day in the homes of Puerto Rican families as well as those from other Hispanic countries. The night of January 5th, children put a box with grass under their beds or next to their bedroom door, and wait for the kings to arrive on their camels. Sometime during the night, the Kings come quietly; and while their camels eat the grass, they leave the gifts in the empty boxes. The next morning, the house is filled with joy with children enjoying their gifts. In the evening, families prepare a traditional dinner with family and friends. The story of the three Kings, Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar, has its origin in the stories of Jesus' birth. The story tells that the Kings came from the East on camels guided by the brightness of the star of Bethlehem. The kings arrived from Asia to Bethlehem after 13 days of travel to bring the newborn Savior gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts. In Puerto Rico, it is only 16 days after Three Kings' Day that the holiday season ends with the famous Octavitas and festivities of San Sebastián Street in the city of San Juan. Some continue these parties as an extension of Christmas. This is why the Christmas holiday in Puerto Rico is known for being one of the longest in the world. Other Puerto Ricans celebrate the Promise of Kings during these holidays, a tradition in which a devotee asks for the intervention of a saint in a time of need. The person claims the Saints and makes the commitment to pay a promise for a granted favor. During this celebration the devotee's family also gathers to pray and sing carols. This event is also celebrated in the kitchen where delicious dishes (like rice with pigeon peas, sucker on the rod, pickled green banana and Coquito, a rich Puerto Rican eggnog made with coconut cream, white rum, evaporated milk, condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla) are prepared to celebrate and enjoy with family. ...