Celebrating Los Tres Reyes Magos in the U.S.A.
This story first appeared on Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes.
When our baby was six months old he visited Puerto Rico for the first time. We went during the festivities of the Three Kings also known as the Epiphany celebrated on January 6. The Epiphany is the celebration of the three wise men who followed the star to Bethlehem to offer baby Jesus gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense 12 days after he was born.
The tradition is to have the children pick grass the night before and place it in a shoe box with some water for the camels, and place it by their bed on the eve of Three Kings Day in hopes of getting a gift or treats. The grass is for the three kings’ camels who have been traveling from afar.
Puerto Rico celebrates a very long holiday starting on Thanksgiving and going on through Three Kings Day. Three Kings Day is also a holiday. Most of the stores, and government offices are closed, and kids are out of school. There are celebrations and festivals through out the island, and in every home kids wake up to the excitement of finding their gifts by the empty shoe boxes. With that being said, what better way than to have our son celebrate his first Three Kings Day in Puerto Rico!
Los Tres Reyes Magos - 2009
Leondies wearing a “pava” a traditional Puerto Rican hat made out of dried palm leaves. The “jíbaros” (folks from the country side) and sugar cane farmers used these to protect themselves from the sun’s hot rays. ”Jíbaro” now a days represents a true and genuine Puerto Rican symbol.
Since he was too small “Abuela” cut the grass for him!
Getting a feel for the grass.
Ahhh the excitement of getting a stuffed animal and clothes.
Wondering where the grass had gone.
Back home in South Carolina we’re keeping the tradition going. Though it’s not a holiday here, we keep up all of our Christmas decoration, tree, and of course, a small display of the stable with three kings figurines until January 6. Christmas in our home goes on until Three Kings Day!
Los Tres Reyes Magos - 2010
In keeping with the tradition Daddy goes out with little one to cut grass.
Our Three Kings display.
Empty shoe box = fun toys!
Los Tres Reyes Magos - 2011
It was raining heavily on the eve of Three Kings Day, but we were still able to get some grass.
It was terribly cold, as you can see little one all bundled up but he was happy with grass.
Making sure his shoe box was by his bed.
Waking up to find the gifts that The Three Kings left for him.
Los Tres Reyes Magos - 2012
It was a beautiful afternoon in South Carolina not much greenery, but Leonides was able to pick some grass, and leaves.
Showing off his shoe box full of leaves (and dry ones, too!)
Stirring the leaves with a spatula. :) No, this is not part of the tradition, he simply wanted to stir them.
Shoe box ready for the Three Kings to come, and he was out!
Sleep but very happy! Wow! Look at all the gifts he received.
Though we’re living in South Carolina, USA I want our son to have the best of both worlds. He will leave cookies and milk for Santa Claus (American tradition) and leave some grass for the Three King’s camels (Puerto Rican tradition). He gets double the gifts and treats; and we continue to embrace our culturally diverse familia’s traditions!
What traditions do you celebrate that aren’t necessarily celebrated where you live? I would love to know! Please share and/or comment!
Frances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a certification in Human Resources. She blogs about discovering the world through her son’s eyes through everyday events, crafts, books and travel in a culturally diverse world. Find her at her blog, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes.