Celebrations of Los Reyes Magos
New Year's Day, Mexican families still have a very special date
to commemorate and enjoy. On
January 6, most of the Hispanic world celebrates El Dia De
Reyes, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three
Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their
treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for
the Baby Jesus.
couple of days earlier, the children write their letters to the
Wise Men, or to their favorite Rey Mago: Melchor,
Gaspar, or Baltasar, asking for the presents they would like to
the evenings before the great celebration on January 6, families
go to the Alameda, in Mexico City, a beautiful
park that dates back to the Colonial era. There, every year,
hundreds of stands are placed with food, toys and best of all,
there are sets, where the children can have their picture taken
with the Three Kings of the Orient.
of multicolored balloons, filled with helium, are sold
during the season, so the little ones can attach their letters
to them, and have them fly, up to the sky, carrying all their
wishes with them. If
they forgot their letters at home, there is no need to worry,
there are also salesmen that offer writing paper and envelopes
specially designed for the occasion and addressed to the Reyes
lovely tradition of going to the Alameda park is
passed on from one generation to another.
I have a picture of my husband, when a small child, with
the Reyes Magos, set on a photo-album alongside
some photographs of my children with them.
6, Dia de Reyes
the night, of January 5, the figurines of the Three Wise Men are
added to the nativity scene. Before going to bed the children
place their old shoes under their bed or in the living room,
where the Wise Men will leave them their presents.
Some also place outside the house, some hay and a bucket
with water for the animals, and even some cookies and milk for
Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar.
can feel the excitement building up!
With twinkling eyes, the children eagerly, and constantly
ask what time it is, wishing for time to fly so they could open
they go off to bed.
soon as they wake up, which is earlier than any other day,
they run to see the gifts that the
Three Magi left for them. Happiness overflows every
children spend the day playing and admiring each other’s
presents, sharing them with friends, talking about how they were
able to hear or see the Reyes Magos when they
arrived at their home, how one of them heard the camel’s
footsteps, how the other saw a shining crown in the dark night!
adults prepare for the Merienda de Reyes, an early
evening dinner that friends and families share to celebrate the