How is the Epiphany celebrated in other countries? Created by: jordan b. Johnson, on january 14, 2017

6 key facts about "Three Wise Men Day" listed below.

In much of Latin America, Día de los Reyes or Día de los Reyes Magos is celebrated in particular by children who receive gifts from the three Magi. Often, this tradition is more significant than Santa Claus and children usually make lists of gifts they would like. On the night of January 5th, children leave their shoes outside the door along with grass and water for the camels. The next day, children wake up to numerous gifts left by the Three Kings or the Reyes Magos.

In Spain and Mexico, one of the most important elements of Día de los Reyes is the Rosca de Reyes, or the Wreath of the Kings. A large, oval-shaped cake filled with sweetened dried fruit, the Kings Cake symbolizes a crown. A small figurine representing Baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake, commemorating the hiding of Jesus from Herod. Whoever gets the slice with the figurine has to host a party on February 2nd or Día de la Candelaria.

Peru's capital Lima was originally called Ciudad de los Reyes. Legend has it that explorer Francisco Pizarro named it so because he discovered the ideal site for the city on January 6th.

Across Latin America and the United States, Latinos celebrate Día de Los Reyes in style with huge parades and celebrations thrown to commemorate the day. In Harlem, New York, a huge parade with giant puppets of the kings marks the day. Meanwhile in California, Disney California Adventure holds a parade. Across Latin America, people host lavish parties to celebrate the coming of the Three Kings.

The Epiphany is the last day in the Christian season of Christmas. In Western churches, it is celebrated on January 6. It is the 12th day of Christmas.

Sometimes the three wise men are referred to as Magi, which some believe were astronomers. Although they aren't named in Scripture, the men received names in the early church: Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.

How is the Epiphany celebrated in Spain?

Spanish children may be among some of the luckiest in the world due to the fact that they get to celebrate Christmas day, and they also celebrate the Epiphany on January 6th, also known as Three Kings’ Day.

In Spain, children write their letters of what they’d like the Three Kings instead of making a list for Santa. Christmas day itself may or may not be a day for gifts, but for majority of families in Spain, Día de los Reyes Magos is always a day to exchange gifts.

The traditions on this day are for children (and some adults as well) to leave out their polished shoes on the eve of January 5th, as well as sweets and milk/wine for the Kings and their live modes of transportation. On the morning of January 6th, children wake up with excitement to a tree stocked with presents.

Roscón de Reyes

The baked pastry above is a Roscón de Los Reyes. The Roscón is a donut-shaped sweetbread, sprinkled with candied fruits. Inside of the Roscón is a figurine of baby Jesus as well as a dried fava bean. Whoever finds the figurine of baby Jesus is crowned “king” or “queen” of the house for the day, and the person who encounters the dried bean is obligated to buy next year’s Roscón.

What is the central message or point of the Epiphany?

The Three Kings refers to the gospel of Matthew when a group of Kings traveled from far lands bearing three gifts to baby Jesus after following a star. The three Kings are named Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar and represent Arabia, Africa and Europe. They traveled on horse, camel and elephant and brought with them gold, frankincense and myrrh to give to baby Jesus.

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