(originally published on 1/4/2012 on Sofrito For Your Soul)
Saludos… Just a few days into the new year, and I am already starting to read more than I write… something I really want to get away from. So even a little bit under the weather, I have decided to write a little something today.
So as some of you may already know, this week is Three Kings Day and I am happy to report that NYC, the capital of the world still holds this holiday near and dear with several celebrations throughout the city. I personally discovered 3 Kings Day or (Dia De Los Reyes Magos) in Puerto Rico circa 1981 and believe it or not, celebrating Christmas had little to do with Santa Claus (and I lived in the Area Metropolitana where many people had close ties to NYC, Chicago and Florida).
So as the story goes, The Three Kings are on their way to visit baby Jesus in Jeruselem, and the Camels needed us to help feed them as they made their way. So every January 5th, I would go out to our beautiful backyard with my baby cousin Mariel and we would cut the greenest grass, wash it off and put it in shoeboxes with Turron (for the Kings to snack on) and as a bonus we would each put some Poma Rosa from our backyard which were in season so they would give us extra gifts.
So I was very lucky to be one of few kids in my neighborhood to celebrate Christmas twice. One difference about my Reyes gift is that it was always a gift that required more though and sentiment. Reyes for me anyway was not about getting the latest video game (Atari or ColecoVision)… it was about getting gifts that were going to make life more enjoyable for me. I remember getting a lot of books… and sometimes my dad would even say that the Reyes left me extra stuff in his shoebox because I was a good son… (and he still smoked cigarettes, and he did not deserve anything).
One thing that makes me a little sad around Three Kings Day, is seeing less people celebrate it. When I returned to NYC in 1985… that would have been the last time I ever celebrated it. Like many parents… I also failed at passing the tradition on to my children. Things like this is what made me start this site, so that I can encourage those with young children to bring back these traditions that have such a deep connection to our cultural heritage.
So in the spirit of that sentiment… I will post a video of my favorite aguinaldo, Mi Burrito Sabanero which is the equivalent of Santa Is Coming To Town for the Dia De Reyes. I am also providing links on local Three King Celebrations so that you can take that first step and make it happen for the generations to come. *
Feel free to share your 3 King Stories with us…
As I am,
The Urban Jibaro
How do you celebrate 3 Kings day?
Let us know in the comments section below.
Email your submissions at Submissions@sofritomediagroup.com
Here is a link to the history of Three Kings Day – Click here
Here are links to the NYC Celebrations of Three Kings Day – Click here
* (because this is a legacy post, some of the links are out-dated)
The artwork featured above is from Olga Ayala, talented artist and great friend, you can view and buy her art at http://www.etsy.com/shop/olgaayala