The twelve days of Christmas begin on December 25th and ends on January 5th, but January 6th is traditionally the last day of the Christmas season, is when we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
If you are Puerto Rican then you have to celebrate “Los Reyes”. After Christmas put a statue of the three Kings on your dinning room table or under the Christmas tree so the kids know it’s not over yet “faltan los Reyes”. Celebrate it Puerto Rican style, that is have the kids cut grass or greenery on January 5th and put it in a box under their bed. Put a small gift from Los Reyes in the box once they fall asleep, and don’t forget too throw away the grass. Have a special “Dia de Reyes meal that day. Take pictures of the kids and their boxes. Later after the feast follow the tradition to sing a “Los Reyes” song.
On Three Kings Day is when the children receive the majority of their gifts from the Three Kings rather then from Santa Claus at Christmas. Before going to bed the children place their old shoe boxes filled with grass or hay under their bed for the camels with a wish list on top for the Three Kings. In the morning the box is filled with toys and gifts from the Three Kings.
According to legend based on scripture this day commemorates the Three Wise Men, Melchior, Gaspar, and Baltazar, who followed the star to Bethlehem, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They travel to Bethlehem, and along the way encountered King Herod, whom they tell of the birth of the new King. Herod orders them to find the baby and return to tell him where the baby could be found so that he may pay homage. After being warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod because he planned on killing the baby, they returned to their own countries using another way to travel home.
Why do the scriptures make such a big deal out of when the Kings came and not when the shepherds or others visited? It’s because the “Kings” ( Wise Men or Magi ) who brought gifts to the baby Jesus were the first Gentiles ( non-Jews ) to acknowledge Jesus as “King” and in doing so, the first to reveal that Jesus came for all people.
Los Reyes Magos, from Persian magu, meaning magician; members of a priestly caste of ancient Medes and Persians; name is applied also to the wise men in the Bible who followed a star to Bethlehem; the Bible story does not name them nor give their number, but Christian tradition from about the 7th century names the three Melchior, Gaspar, and Baltazar; their bodies are said to have been brought to Constantinople by Empress Helen, mother of Constantine, then taken to Milan and finally to Cologne in 1162 by Frederick Barbarossa; since that time they have been called the Tree Kings of Cologne.
During the Holiday season families enjoy some traditional holiday dishes which are shared with friends and family. there are so many different foods cooked that it turns into a feast .