Three Kings Day

Right after Christmas day, my entire body and mind get very confused. Growing up, Christmas day was just the middle stop of the holiday parties, the day that we rested and refreshed for the next 12 days, finishing on Three Kings day.

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 ?


  1. I have not heard of Three Kings Day before and I always love learning about new things from you! The picture of your shoes under the tree made me smile. :) The story about your grandmother and the coin is very sweet too!

    1. Thank you!

      I had forgotten about the baby shoe under the tree until I found it last week.

  2. I have heard of Three Kings Day but I didn't realize you ate king cake on this day! Growing up I had a friend who was born in New Orleans and every year close to Mardi Gras her mom would make a King Cake and have everyone over for a Mardi Gras party. I don't think their King Cake had fruit topping, but it definitely had a baby in the middle that everyone wanted to find! The tradition was the same that the person who got the baby would have to host the Mardi Gras party the next year even though we all knew that our friend from New Orleans would always be the one to host it no matter what haha!

    1. I think the Mardi Gras king cake has a lot more color, I have to try it this year, it looks delicious!

  3. I have not had anyone tell me about three kings day before!
    I thought just like Kristina, I had seen King cake for Mardi Gras with the baby in it. We work with a lady from New Orleans that makes it.
    Three Kings Day sounds like a good tradition to pass on to your son.

    1. Thank you Karen! I'm totally going to try the Mardi grass king cake this year!

  4. I have only heard of Three Kings day from you (but I do know the story of the three kings). So I Mexico when did the actual holidays start? In December? What all did you do before Three Kings Day? You are just fascinating me!

    I would say our Holiday ends on New Years day. I make sure I have the tree and holiday decor down by then and ready for the new year. We usually have off work the following day, so that's a nice day to just relax!

    1. Holiday celebrations start on December 3rd, leading up to Lady of Guadalupe day on December 12. We take a 4 days break, then on December 16th, we start the Posadas (just a lot of praying and food) until December 24th.

      In my hometown in Mexico, we have the town carnival from December 27 to January 7th. So it really is partying non stop all month. On January 4th, everybody goes to the town square for the parades and town party.

      Thank you!! you are too kind!


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