Camels? Trinket-filled ring cakes? Troupes of guitar-wielding neighbors knocking a ?
Three Kings Day (or “El Día de los Reyes Magos”) is celebrated on January 6, or the Epiphany, which marks the day when Catholics believe The Three Wise Men delivered gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold to the baby Jesus.
In Latino immigrant neighborhoods, some Christmas trees are still up, waiting for this last marker of the holiday season. Bakeries have been churning out Rosca de Reyes, doughnut-shaped pastries that contain a hidden plastic baby Jesus, meant to be consumed surrounded by family. Parades feature live camels and Latino kids with plastic crowns, who march down major urban avenues with their parents watching on proudly. And the evening of January 5th, those same kids leave an empty shoe outside for the Kings or put a box of grass, corn, or other camel food under their beds,
expecting to wake up to some small token.
Three Kings Day marks the Epiphany, when Catholics believe wise men Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar visited the Christ child .
“I grew up in Venezuela, and my family would always meet for a big lunch, followed by the Rosca. Whoever found the plastic Baby Jesus was declared the winner,” says a mother of four young kids now living in Connecticut. “Today I think that cake idea is a choking hazard and lawsuit waiting to happen. I would love to incorporate the Three Kings, but I’m too busy and I don’t want to be crippled by consumerism.”