WiseMenAdorationMurilloThe 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.

days-of-christmas250px-Adoration_assisiLos 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 .