Updated: Feb 2
Feliz Día de los Reyes! (Happy Three Kings Day!) This holiday is one of my family’s favorites. Celebrated throughout Latin America, Spain and Europe on January 6, it marks when the three wise men—Balthazar, Melchior, and Gaspar—brought gifts to the baby Jesus.
There are a variety of ways the holiday is celebrated, depending on the country of origin.
I grew up hearing stories of how joyous El Día de los Reyes Magos was back “home” in Puerto Rico. The night before, families and neighbors would gather to eat, sing, and dance. Kids would decorate shoeboxes, fill them with grass, and place them under their bed for los Reyes Magos to fill with small gifts and treats overnight.
While I didn’t celebrate the holiday as a child, I was delighted when my eldest daughter, then six, asked to celebrate it after watching an episode of Dora the Explorer about it. She’s now 20, and with three daughters (our youngest age 10) in our family, it is still one of our favorite holidays. For my girls, it’s been a way to connect with their Puerto Rican heritage while living here in the U.S. mainland.
This celebration inspired my debut picture book, “La Noche Before Three Kings Day,” illustrated by Alejandro Mesa and published by HARPERKids. A Latinx retelling of Clement Clarke Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas,” it captures the excitement of a young child as she and her family prepare for the Three King’s arrival. In my rendition, I have incorporated some Puerto Rican traditions and foods enjoyed during this festive occasion, along with various changes I’ve made over the years for my own family.
Scheduled for publication in Fall of 2023, “La Noche Before Three Kings Day” should be available for pre-order soon. To receive the latest news, follow my Blog here, or fill out the contact form to be added to my email list.