In Mexico, Día de Los Reyes (known elsewhere as Epiphany) is celebrated on January 6 to honor the Three Wise Men. This holiday represents the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus Christ. The day closes the Christmas festivities and is the day the people of Mexico exchange gifts. During Día de Los Reyes, Mexicans serve Rosca de Reyes, or King’s Cake. “Rosca” means wreath and “reyes” means kings. The Rosca de Reyes has an oval shape to symbolize a crown and has a small doll inside which represents baby Jesus. The doll figure symbolizes the hiding of the infant Jesus from King Herod’s troops. Traditionally roscas are adorned with dried and candied fruits to symbolize the many jewels that a crown would have. The person who gets the slice with the doll must host a party on Día de la Candelaria in February.
Christmas might be over, but it doesn’t mean the gift giving (and receiving) is over. Children in Latin America and Spain receive the majority of their gifts from the Three Kings rather than from Santa Claus at Christmas. Before going to bed, the children place their old shoes with a wish list on top for the Three Kings. In the morning, the shoes are filled with toys and gifts from the Three Kings.
This Sunday, many Latino families will be celebrating Día de los Reyes Magos, or Day of the Magi. For some, this holiday rivals Christmas in terms of gift giving as children eagerly await the arrival of Los Reyes. On Saturday night, they will excitedly put together boxes of hay or grass and leave them on their porch steps as a treat for the Magi’s camels. Or they may leave their shoes perfectly lined up at the foot of their beds before they go to sleep, hoping to awaken on Sunday morning and find little gifts tucked inside.
Celebrating Día de Los Reyes with your children.
There are a lot of printable crown templates available online. Your child can make them unique by coloring them in and adding decorative touches like glitter and stick-on gems. To really get into the spirit, print up three different styles – one for each king. We like the various templates available from First Palette. For extra durability, trace them and cut them out of foam craft sheets.
Beloved by children, the Magi’s camels are a central element of the holiday. We’ve seen some super cute camel-themed art projects on the web, and of course, we have our favorites. For 3D projects that your children can assemble and play with, we like this easy camel craft by My Mommy Makes It using a few household materials, and this printable camel from The Toymaker. For a keepsake craft, consider this one using your child’s handprints from Simply Cindy.
The Box of Hay
One of our favorite crafts is this Camels for Kings box from Crayola. For those families who traditionally leave out a box of hay for the camels, this craft offers simple directions for letting your little artists create decorative containers. You can often find small bundles of hay at your local pet stores, but if you don’t have time to pick some up, this activity shows you how to make your own.
There are so many coloring pages to choose from online, but Christian Preschool Printables offers a big collection for you to choose from. To take it to the next level, check out this paper chain of the three wise men by First Palette. Or if you prefer a craft made using popular art supplies, your child might enjoy making these Wise Men paint stick puppets from Mollie’s Mom. And if your child enjoys reenacting the whole story of the Wise Men’s journey, then these printable finger puppets from Hart of the Mountain Studio might be for you.
If you are preparing for the traditional feast on Sunday evening, then why not put your kids in charge of decorations? They may be inspired by this place setting on Un plan sencillo to design their own table decor. Or they may enjoy printing out this flag from Dibujos.org and creating a banner to hang around the house.
And of course, don’t forget the gifts! If your family gives gifts at Christmas, then don’t spend a lot of money on big gifts for your kids. Small, simple ones like books and chocolates, art supplies and note cards are all fun to open.
Feliz Dia de Los Reyes.
Source: modernmami, nbclatino, parade