As a little girl, Christmas wasn’t the end for me. The Christmas tree stayed put past New Year’s Day and there was still reason to celebrate. As a mom now, it is equally important to me to pass down the tradition and story of the Three Wise Men aka The Three Kings, or most familiar to me, Los Tres Reyes Magos. I grew up with a Puerto Rican single mom who made it her mission to instill all the traditions she knew and loved as a little girl. And Dia de Los Reyes Magos is a very big deal.
After Christmas Come The Three Kings
We celebrate Three Kings Day every year on January 6th, marking the end of the 12 Days of Christmas. A day that honors the Three Wise Men or Kings who traveled to meet and gift Baby Jesus. Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar followed the Star of Bethlehem on camels bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I did some research on Three Kings Day and it appears that different families and nationalities celebrate the day a little differently. There are also some that celebrate it almost identical to how our household does.
I went to the library and was so excited to see such a variety in the kids’ section in celebration of Three Kings Day (Dia De Los Reyes Magos)! Just a reminder: library cards are FREE for Miami-Dade County residents and there is no limit to how many items you check out at one time. Check out their website for the closest location to you and to see if the item you want is in stock!
Dora Celebrates Three Kings Day!
I love that there is a DVD version to help children understand who the Three Kings are! Bonus points that it features Dora and Diego! This really helps the preschool-level children learn Spanish language skills, a new cultural difference tied in with matching, counting, and more! Although this is targeted to preschool children, I think preschoolers to elementary ages will really enjoy it.
On Three Kings Day: El Dia De Los Tres Reyes Magos by Judy Zocchi, Illustrated by Rebecca Wallis
This is a fun and colorful story on how different Hispanic cultures eat, dress, and celebrate on Three Kings Day. They give examples of a dessert that is made and how they choose the next year’s hosting family member, which I thought was fun. Really a great book for all ages as I, too, learned new traditions I didn’t know about.
The Flaca Files: The Case of The Three Kings by Alidis Vicente
This book is ideal for 1st to 4th grade and comes in English and Spanish. Detective Flaca is a fun and determined 2nd grader. And cracking the case of who these three men and “flying camels” are. Detective Flaca also takes a trip to Puerto Rico where there is no air conditioning, cable TV, or wifi. A win-win for learning about gratitude AND the Three Kings.
Hurray For Three Kings’ Day! by Lori Marie Carlson, Illustrated by Ed Martinez
Another fun and colorful story on how different families celebrate Three Kings Day. I love that the book gives examples of other big cities with more than one Hispanic culture. My parents come from two different nationalities, as do so many other families in Miami. This book really helps explain how each nationality can have two different traditions but still honor the same thing! Another great read for all ages.
Three Kings Day: A Celebration at Christmastime by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Photographs by Lawrence Migdale
This is the story of a 10-year-old girl and her family and how they celebrate Three Kings Day. It includes the legend of the Three Kings and gives details about who each of them is and why they’re so important. They show and give instructions for art and craft projects, musical traditions, recipes, and pictures of parades that all honor the Three Kings. This one is fun for the whole family!
No matter how you choose to celebrate Three Kings Day (if at all), the tradition lives strong amongst families and religions. It was perfectly said by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, author of Three Kings Day: A Celebration at Christmastime: Three Kings Day is important because, for the first time, unbelievers had recognized a new kind of king. Finding answers to their spiritual questions, the Three Kinds came back with the qualities of good Christians everywhere- faith, hope, and generosity.
As for me and my family, we’ll continue to share the story of the Three Kings. We’ll also continue to spread the joy of filling an old shoe box with hay and carrots for their camels and get one last present to end the season of Christmas!