Los Reyes Magos: Do We Still Believe?

By Efrain Nieves

I read an article that hit home yesterday. The article was about El Dia De Los Reyes or Three King’s Day known as Epiphany.  This is holiday that falls on January 6th and is celebrated in Latin America, Spain, Italy and other European countries.  In the U.S. it’s a holiday associated with the Latino community but which practice has slowly been lost on first and second generation Latinos born in the U.S.  As the years passed, around where I grew up, celebrating Three Kings Day is simply not as strong as  it used to be back in the 70’s and 80’s.

So what happened to Three King’s Day? It is as if one day most of us woke up and said “this is the last year we celebrate El Dia De Los Reyes.”  Perhaps assimilation of the traditional Anglo-Saxon celebration of Christmas have succeeded in displacing “Los Reyes” whether we like to admit it or not. It seems like we became so in tune with American values that we just gave up on this holiday. Or is it that we believe it is only traditional back in our ancestral homes? Personally, I like to believe that our children’s minds are  drilled with the bright colors of Christmas and expensive gifts so much that we had no choice but to give up the Three Kings and let Santa work his magic.

I guess that I am just looking at the greener side of the grass. You know, the grass we left in the shoe box for the camels the night before “Los Reyes” in the hopes that they would leave us presents.

Do you observe this holiday and tradition? Do you still believe?

In no way, shape or form is this blog to be taken as an attack or offense.  I wrote this article in hopes of opening my own eyes to the fact that I no longer celebrate Three King’s Day. Hence, leaving my children without a history of a tradition accustomed to my home.

In any case, Feliz Dia De Reyes.



Pa’lante Latino showcases current events in the arts, entertainment, politics, and culture as it affects our community. Above all, we are ferocious advocates of the contributions that Hispanics/Latinos have made to the United States and feature articles based on historical facts to reaffirm our relevance.Please feel free to email us at info@palantelatino.com.


7 Responses to “Los Reyes Magos: Do We Still Believe?”

  1. There are still some of us that are making it a point to continue the tradition. It only gives us a wonderful opportunity to share our joy and love for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the true reason for the Christmas season. Feliz Dia de Los Reyes Magos (Happy 3 Kings Day). Bendiciones a su familia (Blessings to your family).

  2. Hi Efrain,
    Thank you for the post. It’s nostalgic for me. You are right. My family in PR celebrate it, but me growing up in Brooklyn, NY not so much.

  3. Dali, where do you live in Brooklyn? In Bushwick there’s a very good panaderia and they are selling delicious rosca de reyes! http://www.yelp.com/biz/panaderia-mexico-brooklyn With rosquita and hot chocolate you can keep the tradition alive!

  4. The Magi always brought us small gifts – like a Christmas ornament or article of clothing, like socks, when I was a child. They did the same for my children when they were younger and still living at home.

  5. I am a Puerto Rican, and my fiancèe is American of English descent, but we agreed to honor both sides in our family instead of emphasizing/replacing one for the other. I make sure I speak mostly, if not all, Spanish as much as possible. On December 25 we celebrate Christmas, complete with the tree and Santa and everything. On January 5, we leave hay and water out for the camels before bed and the next morning, after praying together, it’s Three King’s Day, just as important (and yes they get gifts both days). Double the yuletide fun 🙂

  6. No matter where we are, we always celebrate El Dia De Reyes…my son knows it is a key part of his heritage and we get him the most meaningfull gift on enero 6

  7. My family came to the U.S. about 20 years ago, I did notice over time that the excitement for this day was drowned out by Christmas. Ever since I had my son I feel that it’s especially important to celebrate it with him so he can have the opportunity to celebrate a holiday that brought me so much joy when I was a child. He is mixed Mexican and White so for this reason too I refuse to let go of my traditions.

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