Three kings day or ‘Dia de Reyes’ is a famous cultural, traditional, and religious festival in Mexico that is celebrated to honor and revive the old traditions of the country. The festivities of this annual festival are so grand that it never fails to grab worldwide attention.
The festival has almost the same concept as Christmas and Santa Claus but Mexicans celebrate it with their own twist. In fact, the festival takes place after Christmas only. It is all about three kings and little kids. Today, let us tell you everything in detail about the Three Kings Day Festival and its way of celebration.
Different names of the Three Kings Day Festival
Three Kings Day Festival would probably be the only festival that is known by different names. Three kings day is not the only name of the festival but there are many others as well. Let us tell you those names.
- The Day of the Kings
- Twelfth Night
- Little Christmas
History of the Three Kings Day Festival
The Three Kings Day Festival has been a part of Mexican culture for a very long time. In fact, it traces its history back to around the 4th century. Since then, the festival has been celebrated by everyone in Mexico to honor their culture and traditions. Today, the festival has been modernized a lot and influenced by other cultures as well. However, its essence remains the same.
Significance of Three Kings Day Festival
Three Kings Day Festival holds religious as well as cultural significance in Mexico. It is actually a part of the Christmas celebration with some traditional Mexican elements. The festival celebrates the manifestation of God on the earth in the form of three kings, who are actually never spotted by anyone.
When is the Three Kings Day Festival celebrated?
This religious festival is celebrated every year on the 6th of January, 12 days after Christmas and this is why it is also called the 12th night. However, the festivities and the preparation of the festival start way before Christmas. The 6th of January is actually the culmination of the Christmas celebration and weeks-long festivities in Mexico
How the Three Kings Day Festival is celebrated
As we already said, the Three Kings Day Festival is a Christmas celebration in Mexico but it has a different form of celebration. It has exactly the same concept as Christmas, which is receiving gifts from an unknown person. The additional part of the festival is that, after receiving gifts, many food and fun activities also take place.
Since it is the kids who receive gifts, they are super excited on this day and dress up nicely to celebrate the festival. Adults dress up as the three kings so that they can distribute gifts to the kids and click pictures with them. You can say children are the main protagonists in the festival. For oldies, it is a day for family reunions.
Three Kings Day Festival traditions
Like every traditional and religious festival, this Three Kings Day Festival also has certain traditions that you must see in the celebration of the festival. Let us tell you the major traditions of the festival.
- The night before the festival, on January 5th, kids leave their empty shoes under the Christmas tree. Some even write a letter about the gifts they want to get and leave it in the air on the balloon so that it could reach the three Kings.
- The next morning, kids rush to the Christmas tree and find their empty shoes filled with candies and little gifts. Some gifts are wrapped in paper. Kids think their gifts are brought by the three kings.
- After the gift session, the whole family revels in the traditional food of the festival that is Rosca de Reyes’. It is a kind of bread in a circular shape having a hole in the middle where a plastic doll representing Jesus is placed.
- Everyone dresses up in new and colorful attire to celebrate the festival with utmost joy and happiness.
Major highlights of the Three Kings Day Festival
Definitely, every single thing of this festival is worth-mentioning but there are certain things that we simply can’t miss out on. This is why let us tell you the major highlights of the Three Kings Day Festival.
- Three kings
We have been saying right from the beginning that the festival is all about three kings. Do you know who these three kings are? Well, we will tell you. They are Melchior, Casper, and Balthazar, who were the kings respectively from Persia, India, and Arabia.
What makes the Three Kings Day Festival different from the Christmas celebration is its traditional food, which is ‘Rosca de Reyes’. It is the traditional dish of the festival that looks like bread decorated with dried fruits. In the middle, there is a hole and a child-like figure is inserted in some bread. Whoever gets that child-like figure while eating the dish will have to invite others for a meal on Candlemas day, 2nd February. Besides that, there are also many other traditional foods like hot chocolate and atole that increase the festivity of the festival.
- Nativity scene
Another major and eye-catching highlight of the festival is the nativity scene, which is a major part of the Mexican Christmas celebration. The scene depicts the birth of Christ’s child. The scene is actually created on Christmas day but it remains till 6 January, the three kings day festival.
Three Kings Day Festival 2023
Like every year, the Three Kings Day Festival will take place on the same day that is 6 January with the same spirit of joy and happiness this year too. You can witness the colorful celebration of this Mexican festival. Because of Covid 19, the festivities of the festival were restricted a little bit in previous years, so this year it is going to be bigger, grander, and more fun-filled.
For Mexicans, the Three Kings Day Festival is definitely a celebration of their traditions and culture, but for you, it is going to be a completely different experience. So, visit Mexico during the first week of January and be a part of this grand festivity.
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