Día de Reyes Magos

Michael:  Today, January 6, 2014, is a holiday in Colombia. They call it Día de Reyes Magos. Translated it means Three Kings Day.

Graciela:  Colombia is not the only Hispanic country that celebrates the day that the three wise men arrived to present the baby Jesus with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Mexico and Spain also have celebrations. In Spain they call it day of Epiphany and celebrate with a large parade called the Kings Parade.

Michael:  In the United States we have Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season. My research reveals that Three Kings day is the Colombian way of marking the end of the holiday parties. However, it has been noted to me by Colombians that they are party people and using that date is more in the form announcing the next round of partying. For instance soon to come is the Carnaval de Barranquilla. It starts a week before Ash Wednesday. UNESCO in 2003 declared the festival Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Graciela:  On Jan 6 in Bogotá the biggest celebration of the day is in barrio Egipto. The whole community get involved in recreating with actors the nativity scene and arrival of the Three Wise Men.

Michael:  Unfortunately like many things what started out as a religious holiday has turned into more of a carnival. The page of the mayor for this event does not show even one religious photo but singers and dancers.

3 kings presenting giftsGraciela:  The photo above is the wise men delivering their gifts. It is set up at the church I have attended more than any other in my life, Chiquinquirá in barrio Chapinero. The community there still observes the day with a more religious tone to it.  And even in barrio Egipto there are those who observe more the religious significance of the day. Here is a page with a photo showing children acting out the scene in their yard.