Three Kings Day is Celebrated on Jan 6 !
Christianity is full of many surprising celebrations, from gifts to feasts, different holidays in different forms. Yet one holiday stands out the most is Three Kings Day. This celebration is prevalent in Latin-American countries. It’s almost like Christmas! The only difference is instead of Santa Claus; three wise men leave presents for the children. Also, instead of socks, the gifts are left in the shoes of small children. The Latin-American tradition is sometimes known as Epiphany, which started back in the 4th century.
As the holiday is celebrated on a broad scale, it is better to know what Three Kings Day is? And when is Three Kings Day?
What Is Three Kings Day?
This day marks the adoration of baby Jesus by the three wise men.
Three Kings Day represents the time when the Wise Men, also known as the Magi, came to visit Jesus. Three Kings Day is seen as a revelation of Jesus to the Gentiles.
What Day Is Three Kings Day Celebrated?
Three Kings Day is usually celebrated on the twelfth day of Christmas, which is January 6. This holiday has gained quite a popularity in Spain and all across Europe, aside from Latin America.
What Is Three Kings Day; Three King’s Day Traditions:
Three Kings Day is a widely celebrated holiday all over Latin America. So, it is crucial to know how do they celebrate Three Kings Day.
To the first tradition of Three Kings, Day 2021 is giving gifts. As mentioned earlier in the article, children put their shoes outside their houses. Then the three wise men or the three kings leave them presents inside them (only if they are shoes’ size).
Then comes the decorations; people decorate their homes with pretty decorations, just like Christmas.
Then comes the food; no celebration is complete without a feast. And food plays a significant role on Three Kings Day. In Latin American countries, the dinner is enjoyed at a tradition called al fresco feast.
This feast is the highlight of the celebration. A cake is a crucial part of this celebration. This cake is prepared shaped into a wreath, studded with nuts and candied fruit representing jewels in the Magi’s crown.
Moreover, a tiny doll of baby Jesus is hidden within the cake. The person who receives this doll has to host the Candlemas celebration in February.
History of Three Kings Day:
Three Kings Day (also known as Epiphany or Theophany) is referred to as Christian feast day. It celebrates the revelation of God in his Son as human Jesus Christ.
The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was found in A.D. 361, by Ammianus Marcellinus. It is said that the Epiphany or Three Kings Day is Hemera genethlion toutestin epiphanion, which translates to “Christ’s Birthday; that is, His Epiphany.” Furthermore, the Miracle of Cana occurred on the same calendar day. So, it’s a cause for a double celebration.
This day was referred to as ta Theophania (the Theophany) on December 25, 380 A.D. St. Gregory of Nazianzus said this day commemorates the holy Nativity of Christ.
On Three Kings Day, he preached the celebration of the birth of Christ, and the visitation of the Magi had taken place, and they would now commemorate his Baptism.
Egyptian monasteries celebrated the Nativity and Baptism together at the beginning of the 5th century on January 6.
Thus, The Armenian Apostolic Church continues to celebrate Three Kings Day as the only commemoration of the Nativity.
Which Countries Celebrate Three Kings Day & How?
If you haven’t heard of this holiday before, you must be wondering who celebrates Three Kings Day? So, here are some countries who do:
- France: this country celebrates the day eating ‘Galette des Rois,’ a type of flat almond cake. This cake is cooked with a toy crown cooked inside it and then topped with a gold paper crown.
- Mexico: Mexico celebrates mostly the similar traditions, where the celebration is known as ‘El Dia de los Reyes’ (the day of The Three Kings). The special cake here is called ‘Rosca de Reyes’ (Three Kings Cake). The most common tradition of hiding a Baby Jesus figure in the cake is followed. The person who gets the baby Jesus in their piece is considered the ‘Godparent’ of Jesus that year.
- Portugal: people here sing carols on Epiphany known as the ‘Janeiras’ (January songs). While the Madeiran islanders call it the ‘Cantar os Reis’ (singing the kings).
- Italy: Italian children get presents on Epiphany, but they believe an old lady known as ‘Befana’ carries them. Like Christmas, Children put stockings up by the fireplace so Befana can fill it with gifts.
- Austria: people here write a particular sign on their front doors with chalk. It’s a tradition that represents the Wise Men visiting the baby Jesus. The sings also hold another significance, and that is to protect the house for the coming year. Their celebrations end with the ‘Four Hills’ Ski Jumping Tournament that also happens on January 6 in Bischofshofen, Austria.
- Germany: most parts of Germany have the same tradition of marking their doors like in Austria.
- Belgium: here, children dress up as the three wise men on Three Kings Day and sing songs going from door to door. In return, people give them money or sweets, almost like Trick or Treat tradition of Halloween.
- Poland: plans have the same tradition of Children going out singing on Epiphany.
- Ireland: here, Epiphany is sometimes called ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. It is a tradition here for men to take over the household chores, and the women naturally get the day off. Irish women get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany to have tea and cakes.
- New Orleans, Louisiana: in the U.S., on Three Kings Day, the Christmas Tree is taken down, and the ornaments are replaced with Purple, Gold, and Green ones. It’s then called a ‘Mardi Gras Tree’! People eat ‘King Cake’ made of cinnamon pastry with sugar topping filled with cream cheese or jelly/jam. They also hide a baby plastic doll inside the cake. The person who gets the piece with the baby has to serve the next King Cake.
How to Celebrate Three Kings Day:
After all this information we have already given, there is not much left to imagine what you will do on Three Kings Day.
- The first thing you can do is prepare a large meal for your family and friends. Invite them over and have a blast with the feast deserving of Three Kings Day.
- You can try some of the traditions mentioned earlier in the article. Different countries have different rules, and it could be fun trying them out.
- You can try your hand baking “Rosca de Reyes”; there are tons of recipes online for this cake. With a sugary sauce, plenty of sweetness, and a good cinnamon dose, this is a cake that will make you wish for more. But Don’t forget to insert the baby Jesus doll in the cake.
- Most of the people don’t know much about the history of Three Kings Day. So, these Three Kings Day 2021 makes it a plan to read the gospel; it’s all based on.
- Another fun tradition of Three Kings Day is jumping into cold water. That’s how people in Prague celebrate this event, and it’s fun this way.
- The jumping is followed by delicious, warm Czech snacks and mulled wine. If you like, you can even skip straight to the wine.
Did You Know?
The three kings’ names are Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar. Who gifted Jesus gold, the essential oil frankincense, and the resin myrrh put in ciboria vessels.