Puerto Rico is famous for its pristine beaches, world-class rums and for having the longest Christmas in the world. Starting the day after Thanksgiving and ending in late January, Christmas in Puerto Rico is like no other. Right after the New Year, in January 6th, Puerto Ricans celebrate Three Kings Day.
The celebration of the Three Kings is taken from the story of the Three Wise Men: Melchor, Baltazar and Gaspar, who brought gifts to Jesus on the day of his birth. On the eve of the celebration, children gather grass in shoeboxes as an offering to the camels on which the Three Wise Men travel. In exchange, the Three Kings leave presents to those that have been good during the year.
The Three Kings celebration is observed in much of Latin America, but in Puerto Rico it is taken much more seriously than in other countries. Since the 19th century, the southern town of Juana Díaz has been famous for its Three Kings procession. In its beginnings, the whole town would dress up as shepherds and follow the Three Kings on their route through the different towns. Today, the Three Kings of Juana Díaz are famous for their portrayal of the wise men and the traditional parade is highly anticipated by eager children all over Puerto Rico.
If you happen to be in Puerto Rico on Three Kings Day, don’t forget to give something special to those you love on this time-honored celebration of joy.