On January 6th we celebrate Three Kings Day or Epiphany as it is also called. This day, which brings its own traditions and rituals, is also the true Twelfth day of Christmas and closes the Christmas season.
If you haven’t heard of Epiphany or Three Kings Day, is ties to the Biblical story of Three Kings (Wise Men) who follow a star to the birthplace of Baby Jesus. Christians all over the world come together and mark this day in different ways.
How my family celebrates
Growing up, my family celebrated Three Kings Day with a cake (really a bread) that is called Kings Cake and it marked the last day of Christmas. That was the day we could officially take down our Christmas decorations. Even now with my own family, I won’t let any Christmas decorations come down until this day.
About five years ago, when my family and I moved to Florida, our friends invited us to a Three Kings celebration. The event was a family event, there was a pig roasting, a Priest telling the Three Kings story to the kids, three men dressed up as Wise Men and then each child was given a present. We have attended this event ever since and look forward to it every year!
Six traditions to share with your family
Here are six curated ideas on how to celebrate. Who knows? Maybe you can add one or more to your own traditions.
Bring friends and family together for a special meal. You can make it a Christmas meal or just keep it simple. The idea is to gather with loved ones and enjoy each others company.
2. KINGS CAKE
In South America, we call it a “Rosca de Reyes”. It is sweet bread decorated with dried fruit and shaped like a ring. Some countries just bake a cake but even though the recipes may vary from country to country, all include a trinket hidden inside. There are 2 popular traditions that are my favorite:
- Baked inside the King Cake is a plastic mini baby. The person who gets the piece with the baby has to host a meal on Feb 2nd which is another Christian holiday called Candlemas. If you are in Mexico, get ready to make a lot of tamales!
- In other countries there is a bean baked inside. If you get the piece with a bean, you get to be King of the feast. Some add a pea too. The pea means you get to be Queen of the feast.
3. BLESS THIS HOME
Another tradition during Epiphany is the blessing of doorways. Doorways would be sprinkled with holy water and the owner would write with chalk C + M + B and the year above the doorway. The initials represent the names of the Three Kings, however, according to the Church it stands for “Christus Mansionem Benedictat” (Christ bless this home). This is one tradition I will be starting this year!
In some countries children leave shoes next to their beds to receive small gifts or treats. Next to their shoes they leave hay and water for the Wise Men’s camels.
Star Singers also known as Epiphany singers, are usually children wearing crowns and dressed like kings to resemble the Three Kings. They hold up a large star and go from house to house caroling. The singers usually receive money or sweets for the entertainment.
The donations collected from caroling go to the less fortunate. If you are not caroling, it would be a good idea to collect money or gifts at your feast and donate to a charity or your local church.
I hope you feel motivated to share some of these traditions with your friends and family. I know I will be adding a few to my Three Kings celebration. Get Inspired!