Three Wise Men

Santa Claus is wonderful, but as a Mexican child, we only worry about the three Wise Men arriving. January 6th is the funniest day of the year.

Three Wise Men

Santa Claus is wonderful, but as a Mexican child, we only worry about the three Wise Men arriving. January 6th is the funniest day of the year. As a child, I have always known that Santa does not exist, for me, the tradition of the man dressed in red is just an exchange of gifts between family and friends, but we never wait for the man in red to arrive to open the presents. I can’t speak for other kids, but I’ve always known that Santa doesn’t exist.

Contrary to Santa, the Three Wise Men exist. When the wise men arrive, they always bring me all the toys that I write in the letters. That is why all year long, I am thinking about what I will ask them on January 6, the Day of the Kings. In my letter to the wise men, I can ask for a highway, a bicycle, clothes, really whatever, maybe this year I’ll ask for an Atari.

My mother has told me that The Three Wise Men bring Baby Jesus gifts, born on December 24, under the Christmas tree. The 3 wise men do not know that Baby Jesus is in my house, but the Star of Belem guides them to reach him.

 Three Wise Men Names

My mother says that nobody remembers the real reason for celebrating the Day of the Holy Kings. The Three Wise Men emerged with the Catholic tradition of the Epiphany that the Spanish brought to Mexico when they conquered us.

The names of the Three Wise Men in Hebrew are Apelio, Amerio and Damascus; in Greek Galgata, Malgalat and Sarathin; in Latin Gaspar, Baltasar and Melchior; and in Spanish Gaspar, Baltazar and Melchor. Initially, his skin color represented the races Sem, Cam and Jafet, simbolizing Europe, Africa and America. The Three Wise men currently embody the world’s colours: white, yellow and black; in Mexico, its colours are white, brown and black.

Three Wise Men Gifts

King Melchior brings Jesus Oro as a gift and recognizes him as the King of Kings. Gaspar brings incense because it is the gift of the Gods, and Jesus is a God. Balthazar gets myrrh because he knows that he is a man and will die before becoming God.

The great thing about the Holy Kings is that they do not only come with the gifts of the Baby Jesus; they also bring presents for all the children of Mexico. Actually, maybe not for everyone, just those who all year behaved rightly, got good grades and obeyed their parents. In return, we have to leave food for our visitors, milk and cookies for the Kings; and straw and water for the camel, horse and elephant. They come from the East and arrive at our houses very tired and hungry.

Three Kings Days Mexico

The belief is that the Three Wise men were from a Medean Tribe who later became Persian Priests. The priests practiced divination, medicine, and astrology; since they predict the future by reading the stars, they were also considered witches. Therefore, Wise Men could mean Witch Men; that is, the Three Wise Men are the Three Witch Men.

Wise or witches does not matter; fortunately, the tradition has continued to this day for Mexico’s children, and it represents a lot of fun during this time. For example, days before the Three Kings Day, our parents take us to parks and public places to take photos with people dressed up as the Three Kings. In Mexico City, the Alameda Central Park and the Monument to the Revolution are very famous because you can find hundreds of Three Wise Men to take selfish.

From weeks before to January 6, all the children write letters for the Three Kings. In reality, we always write more than one letter, one to put at our house, another to leave at our grandparents’, another for school, and others to leave at our uncles’ houses. This year, the teacher asked us to make a letter to tie to a balloon and send it to the kings at recess time.

Rosca de Reyes

For children, the main reason for Three Kings Day is to receive toys; however, one of the things I like the most about these dates is to eat Rosca de Reyes and drink Chocolate Abuelita. On January 5, my uncles and cousins come to the house; we share a gigantic Rosca de Reyes and have lots of chocolate.
In the past, religious nuns celebrated Christmas night by eating donuts and Epiphany by eating sugary bagels scented with orange blossom water. It was a French custom that was passed to Spain and then to Mexico.

Baby Jesus

There is one thing I hate about Three Kings Day, and it is the baby Jesus. There are several Baby Jesus hide inside of the Rosca de Reyes, which you can get while cutting a piece. Everyone who gets the Baby Jesus out has to make or buy tamales for February 2, the Day of Candlemas. For this reason, when everyone is there, I only cut a small piece and then return to eating more Rosca, but secretly, so that no one will see me if I get a Baby Jesus.
After having Rosca de Reyes with family, many parents visit the shopping centers, markets and “tianguis”. All the shops and stores are full of toys and close very late on this day. They say that the Three Kings will know where to buy the toys to bring us in his way. As they are wealthy Three Kings, they have money to buy toys for all Mexico’s children.

The Kings Day

On January 5th at night, just before going to sleep, we put the letters to the Three Wise Men inside of shoes. Thus, the 3 Wise Men leave the toys inside of our shoes or on top of them if the toys are big.

January 6th is not a national holiday; I have to go to school, but my parents are great; they let me stay at home to see my friends and go out to play with them and my new toys. It is an enjoyable day, and no child goes to school. It is a day where all children are on the street, some riding bicycles, others on skateboards, many with dolls, others wearing brand new clothes, etc. The truth is that the toy does not matter; the important thing is to have the funniest day of the year.

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