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Three Wise Men Day

December Holidays
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Three wise men day marks the official end of the Christmas holiday season, or the Epiphany (sometimes called Twelfth Night), which many religions view as the twelve days after Christmas. Many different religions and countries celebrate this holiday, but it's especially prominent in the Catholic religion. In Spanish, the holiday is called Dia de los three Reyes Magos, or Three king's day. The most common explanation of the holiday is that the twelve days are the amount of time it took the three wise men to find the Baby Jesus in the stable in Jerusalem.

The Three Wise Men

The three wise men were Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and they were guided to the stable by the Star of Bethlehem. They offered the very extraordinary baby special gifts of gold, frankincense (incense), and myrrh. They were also known as Magi, the wise men of the East, and three kings of the Orient, but in reality they were noblemen, kings, or Persian priests and astrologers. These gifts honored the baby, but they also gave him tools to use as he grew and matured into an adult who was strong enough to lead others and inspire them.

The Modern Celebration

Today, it's traditional to give gifts to children on January 6th, very similar to trading presents on Christmas Day. The three wise men bring the gifts, and adults can receive gifts too, if they still believe in the tradition. Children have to behave well throughout the year, and before January 6th arrives, they have to write a special letter to the three wise men in order to get their gifts. In Mexico, families gather together to share the rosca de reyes, which is a sugary bread with dried fruits. Inside, are little plastic dolls that represent the Baby Jesus. If a person gets a piece of bread with the baby, they must prepare tamales or other food for a traditional dinner on February 2nd. Children also place their shoes under the Christmas tree on three wise men day eve, so their gifts can be found under the tree the next morning. Just as on Christmas Eve, children leave out cookies and milk for the three wise men to enjoy.

Three wise men day is an important holiday in many countries, and it helps end the Christmas season celebration.

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