Today, people all over the world celebrate the arrival of the three wise men at Bethlehem to worship baby Jesus. This is the last major event of the Christmas season. Unfortunately, not a lot of people in the U.S. outside of the Latin communities are very familiar with this celebration of the epiphany.
Three Kings Day, celebrates the Biblical story of the three kings, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar, who followed a star that led them to Bethlehem, where they brought baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The journey is believed to have taken 12 days, beginning on Dec. 25 and ending with their arrival on Jan. 6.
On the eve of Three Kings Day, children leave a shoebox filled with grass, sometimes accompanied by a glass of water or freshly polished shoes, under their bed or by the door to help the three kings and their camels along on their journey.
When children wake up on the morning of Three Kings Day, the grass and water will have been replaced with candy and small gifts, believed to have been consumed by the three kings and their camels. Family and friends will then gather for a feast and to sing the rosary and songs.
Happy Three Kings Day!