In Mexico, Christmas is not over until the Three Kings have arrived. I was taught that Santa didn't bring gifts, that The Tree Kings ( aka Three Wise men) are the ones who bring us gifts, like they brought gifts to Baby Jesus when he was born.
Please know that I have not done any formal research on the real story of The Three Kings. What I am telling you today, is only based on what I was told as a child, growing up in Mexico.
We were told that The Tree Kings traveled from *far to bring Baby Jesus presents, that they traveled for 12 days until they found him under the star. They brought him gold, myrrh and frankincense. Each for a different reason and meaning.
*back then, we were only told that they came from Europe, Asia and Africa.
On the night of January 5th, we set our shoes under the Christmas Tree to wait for our gift. The rule at my house was always "NO Shoe=No Gift".
|My son's first Three Kings day, and Cordy's Collar|
When I was a kid, we didn't visit the Three Kings at a mall and told them what we wanted... we used our parents as mediums to communicate our request and show them exactly what gift we wanted. If no request had been made, we could get whatever random toy they could find for somebody our age.
The one thing that is the exact same, is that we still have the "If you don't behave properly, the Three Kings will not bring you any presents!!" Threats.... and all especially the 2 weeks leading to the day.
My favorite Three Kings present was a Barbie doll I got when I was 6. My least favorite was a plastic doll I got when I was 13. <-- I had that coming, for asking for a gift at 13m fully knowing who the Three Kings were and how much easier it would have been to just ask my mom for a job and money!
Growing up, we had this day off from school, but I think the day is no longer observed by schools in Mexico, I will have to confirm with my relatives.
On Three Kings day, we also have a Rosca, or Kings Cake. Rosca is a sweet bread with sugar, and fruit toppings. The Roscas have 3-5 plastic babies inside and whomever gets a baby on their bread, gets to help host a dinner on February 2nd.
|My sister always gets the baby!|
Three Kings day holds beautiful memories of opening up toys with my sisters, fighting over playing with the toys, and waiting for my grandparents to arrive for lunch and a small gift from them. My grandmother used to wrap up a coin in tissue and whisper to us where the Tree Kings had left her the money for us. For the rest of my life, I will remember her small hands putting that coin in my hands and the love behind her gifts.
I wanted my son to know and observe this tradition, and he gets 1 gift from Los Tres Reyes every January 6th. One year, he put out 6 shoes, hoping for 6 different toys... he is clever!
Had you heard of Three Kings day before?
When do they holidays end for you ?