2020 is well underway, but we wanted to take a minute to reflect on our favorite holiday. In many countries, Christmas or New Year’s gets the most attention, but for many Hispanic cultures, it’s Three Kings Day (a.k.a., Epiphany) that, quite literally, takes the cake. This year, in honor of UMG’s 10th anniversary, we wanted to celebrate Three Kings Day in a special way, so we commissioned local Greenville sculptor, Doug Young, to create a 3 Kings bas-relief for our clients. Here, we want to dive a little deeper into how Hispanic cultures around the world celebrate Three Kings Day.
Mexico: Mexican families add the Three Wise Men figurines to their nativity sets on January 5th, and children put one of their shoes out before going to bed. On the morning of January 6th, the shoes are filled with gifts left by the Three Kings. Families enjoy a special, oval-shaped cake called Rosca de Reyes (Kings’ Cake) that has a Jesus figurine baked into it.
Argentina, Paraguay & Uruguay: The Three Kings Day traditions in these South American countries are similar. The kids leave a shoe out before going to bed and also put out grass and water (think “milk and cookies”) for the camels of the Wise Men. The Wise Men come in the night and leave gifts for the children.
Puerto Rico: On Three Kings Eve, families sing traditional carols about the Magi. Puerto Rican kids fill a box with grass and leave it outside for the camels of the Magi. In exchange, the Three Wise Men leave gifts for the children.
Spain: Many cities host Three Kings Eve parades to welcome the Wise Men. After the parades, the kids put out their shoes and some water for the camels. Spaniards also enjoy a Roscón cake, and whoever gets the figurine of baby Jesus in their piece of cake is in charge of paying for the following year’s Kings’ Cake. Spain also holds a special lottery on January 6th known as the Lottery of the Baby.
Many countries have regional or localized traditions, and we love learning how clients grew up celebrating this beloved traditional holiday. If your family, community, or region has a celebratory tradition that we didn’t mention above, please leave a comment and tell us about it!