Celebrate “Three Kings’ Day” with a Free Adventures in Odyssey Episode

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It’s back to work and school for many of us who took some much-needed time off during the Christmas season. Many of you may have even packed up your decorations until next year.

But did you know that the Christmas season traditionally runs through the feast of the Epiphany, which is celebrated on Jan. 6 or on the Sunday between Jan. 2 and 8?

The “Epiphany,” or “Three Kings Day” is especially celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain.

So how do some of these countries commemorate the visit of the Magi to the Christ-child?

While the details of the celebration differ among the world’s 22 Spanish-speaking countries, they tend to include gift-giving, parades, and food. Many countries also have special traditions for children, who receive their holiday presents from the Three Kings as opposed to Santa Claus. Instead of milk and cookies for St. Nick, for example, these kids leave water and cut grass out for the camels carrying the Magi.

Hispanics in the U.S. also observe Día de Reyes, or have fond memories of the holiday. I want to share a few anecdotes from our Focus family:

  • Kat Bittner, who works with our magazine and publications team as a working supervisor, celebrated Three Kings’ Day with her extended family – which included 20-30 primos (cousins)! The family would attend Los Angeles-area festivals, participate in a special worship service, visit nativity scenes, share stories about the special day, and enjoy food and music.

    In keeping with their Mexican roots, all the children in Kat’s extended family would indulge in a Rosca de Reyes, a king’s cake pastry traditionally eaten on Epiphany. The child who found the Baby Jesus received a special sweet treat – and a $20 bill. It all made for “great childhood memories and recognition of my Mexican heritage.”

  • Dante Miró, who works as Focus’ director of marketing, also celebrated Three Kings’ Day as a child growing up in the States. His family kept the Puerto Rican tradition of gathering hay (or grass) for the camels. During a Christmas trip back to the island, Dante saw how children went to the mall to have their pictures taken with the Three Kings.

    Now a father himself, Dante continues to celebrate Three Kings’ Day with his children “as a way to connect them to their Hispanic heritage, and as a way to demonstrate that Jesus came to save both Jews and Gentiles.”

  • Victor Arias, who works in our IT department, arrived in the United States 10 years ago. Growing up in Paraguay, he didn’t remember much talk about Santa Claus – but ask him about Three Kings’ Day, and you get a very different response.“For us kids, our ‘big day’ was Día de Reyes. All of us anxiously awaited our gifts. We had to take our shoes and put them on our window to signal to the Reyes that we wanted gifts. We would also leave very green grass to feed the camels.

    “While we slept, our parents would take the grass and leave our gifts on our beds, so the first thing we saw were our presents. Since we didn’t have school on that day, all the neighborhood kids headed outside to show off and share our presents. It was a big party!”

Perhaps it’s because diversity was a large part of my upbringing in California, or because I got to travel extensively during my time as vice president over Focus’ international efforts, but I love to hear how different cultures and traditions celebrate our shared Christian faith.

So this year I’d like for Focus to commemorate the holiday by making it easier for parents to tell their children about the Wise Men who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus. To that end, I’m happy to offer a free download of a two-part Adventures in Odyssey episode titled “The Star.” In this adventure, Connie and Eugene meet King Herod, the three Wise Men, and baby Jesus. You can download “The Star” here.

And if you like what you hear, you should also check out our Adventures in Odyssey webpage and our Odyssey Adventure Club, which offers members daily devotions, a Clubhouse Magazine subscription, exclusive video stories, and – best of all – unlimited episode streaming of more than 800  AIO episodes! You can also sign up for a free 14-day trial of Odyssey Adventure Club.

And if any of you want to share your Three Kings’ Day memories – or any other way you celebrated or continue to observe the holidays – let me know in the comments section, below.

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Leave a Comment

Sandra Martinez-Diaz 13 days ago
Love this article!! Yes, Christmas is not over for me.  I'm from Puerto Rican descent and I do too have awesome memories of this day.  I was born in PR and lived there till I was 10yrs of age so I do remember me going to the woods with my cousins and filling up an empty shoe box with grass.  Then we will put it under our bed with a glass of water for the camels to eat and drink.  In the morning the box and water gone but a beautiful surprise (gift) was there instead.  Now I'm an adult and I still keep this tradition I don't put down my tree or decorations down till after the 6th.  My kids grew up knowing about this tradition and now it is being passed to my grand-kids.  So yes! Feliz de los Reyes!!! #gaspar #melchor #baltasar
Janet Margheim 14 days ago
We wanted to add another holiday to make our family's holidays unique so we decided to add 3 Kings Day to our yearly after Christmas holiday.  Ever since our son was young we have celebrated 3 Kings Day.  Each day we read "The 12 Days of Christmas" book by Helen Haidle which coincides with the holiday.  Our son also hangs on our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree the ornament that is for the day from the 12 days of Christmas.  On the last day, 12 days after Christmas, we read the last passage of the book, add the last ornament to the tree, and play the 12 Days of Christmas to the tune of John Denver and the Muppets, I love them singing that song, and our son gets three gifts that relate to each other.  This year he is getting 3 nerf guns.  Ssshhhhhh.  I hate putting our pretty Christmas decorations away and this way we don't have the big let down after Christmas.  We also act like we are rich like kings and enjoy a nice meal.  We are from Minnesota where it is frigid cold and have no Spanish in our blood but LOVE this holiday.  Our son will be able to continue the Hispanic tradition being caucasian when he has a family of his own.  Thanks for letting me share.
Anonymous 14 days ago
We aren't of Hispanic descent but began celebrating Three Kings Day (Wiseman Christmas) the year after our second son was born on Dec. 25th. That year my husband also began working at a hospital and had to work Christmas Day so we decided to start a new family tradition. We now have a birthday party for Jesus (He shares His party with our son ) and spend the day with family on the 25th, then on Epiphany, we exchange gifts and talk about the Wisemen bringing their gifts to baby Jesus. It has been a wonderful tradition that gives us more time to focus on the true reason of Christmas, lessened the stress and extended the holiday. 
Anonymous 14 days ago
We live in a Mennonite community in Canada. Our community businesses and schools close and most churches have services to reflect on the 3 kings part of the Cmas story. But our gifts and festivities all happen during Cmas holidays. 
Yvonne Guerra 14 days ago
As an American of hispanic descent, I love both Christmas and Epiphany. I have learned to straddle both traditions and even blend them. As for the Day of the 3 Kings, I was thought to focus on the birth of our Lord on Dec. 25 and what a very special, and spiritual, day it was. No presents. The greatest gift was that God gave us His only son. My parents would tell me that "los regalos" (the presents) would arrive Jan. 6, and that I needed to be patient. JUst as when I needed to await Advent. Santa Clause was not the present-bearer. It was the 3 Kings of the mysterious Orient. This helped me focus on what Christmas is really about. Feliz Navidad. Welcome the Magi, Melchior, Balthasar and Gaspar!
Cheryl Long 14 days ago
Very interesting!  It bugs me when people stop playing Christmas music the day after Christmas!  I listen almost exclusively to Christmas music from just after November until Epiphany! :)  
Sharon Young 14 days ago
Don't forget that as of January 2017, the Odyssey Adventure Club is going by its new/revised name, The Adventures In Odyssey Club. :-)  I get the impression that the name adjustment had to do with eliminating confusion and bringing the brand names in alignment.  Either way, it's well worth it for access to stream all past AiO episodes and get first look at new and exclusive content. :-)