Not a Traditional First Dia de Reyes Celebration
Known as ‘El Dia de Reyes’ (Three Kings Day), January the 6th represents the height of the Christmas season. The date marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and commemorates the three wise men who traveled from afar, bearing gifts for the infant baby Jesus.
We didn’t have what might be considered a traditional Día de Reyes celebration. With it being our first year to celebrate, I didn’t think we would but that didn’t stop me from starting a new tradition for my family. Neither my husband nor I grew up celebrating this holiday. We decided to add it to our holiday celebrations not just because it’s a ‘Latino’ holiday but because we believe that it continues the story of Jesus’ birth beautifully. From the time I began teaching my sons about the meaning of Christmas, I’ve made sure to include the Three Kings. I told the story of how they came AFTER Jesus’ birthday to bring Him gifts.
Instead of leaving the kids’ shoes out to be filled with coins, I thought it would be interesting to let mis chiquitos come up with how they wanted to celebrate. Since the Three Kings followed the brightest star to find Baby Jesus, my son insisted that we create stars and hang them in our window so they could find us, too. Being a homeschool family, I used this as an opportunity to teach shapes and how to trace and cut.
The night before Día de Reyes, my son wrote a letter to the Three Kings and left it out for them. We also left our a pile dry grass on our front porch for the Three Kings’ camels to eat. I’m not known for planning these things ahead of time so we didn’t go out to get real hay. You know what, my son was just as happy using the grass. Before oldest son went to bed, he asked my husband, “Do camels and dogs got along? Because I’m afraid our dogs might scare off the camels.” My heart melted.
The next morning mis chiquitos woke up before I did. The first thing I heard was “Mom! We got presents!!” They insisted to check if the camels had eaten all their ‘food’. Of course, they had.
So maybe our celebration wasn’t as traditional as in some homes. What’s awesome is that we have our own celebrations and now traditions. In future holidays, we can learn more about each king and the gifts they brought to Jesus.
This is a little of what we did. I’ll share more about what our holiday dinner looked like in the next post. It wasn’t ‘traditional’ either! To learn how others celebrate, read The Tradition Behind Three Kings’ Day.