How to Celebrate the Day of the Kings (El Día de los Reyes)

Two Methods:Setting Up the ShoesBaking/Ordering a Rosca de reyes (Three Kings Bread)

On the 6th of January, most Christians and Catholics of Hispanic descent celebrate Three Kings Day or El Día de los Reyes (as it is named in Spanish). In their culture, this holiday is often considered to be more important than Christmas (The Birth of Jesus). The Christian church calls this day Epiphany Day, when three kings (Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, from Europe, Arabia, and Africa) arrived on a horse, camel and elephant. Each one brought, respectively, gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. It's a fun holiday to celebrate, and if you choose to give gifts on this day rather than Christmas, you have the added benefit of taking advantage of after-Christmas sales!

Method 1
Setting Up the Shoes

  1. Image titled Celebrate the Day of the Kings (El Día de los Reyes) Step 1
    Have each person in the household who will be receiving gifts polish a pair of their own shoes on January 5. Usually it's the children, but adults do it too.
  2. Image titled Celebrate the Day of the Kings (El Día de los Reyes) Step 2
    Leave the pairs of shoes together somewhere in the house before going to bed. You can leave them by the front door, for example, or under the Christmas tree--one pair for each gift-receiving member of the household.
  3. Image titled Celebrate the Day of the Kings (El Día de los Reyes) Step 3
    Leave treats for the kings and their animals. Traditionally, this is sweet wine, fruit, milk, or hay.
  4. Image titled Celebrate the Day of the Kings (El Día de los Reyes) Step 4
    Put gifts in, on, or next to the shoes for each person. Discover them together the next morning!

Method 2
Baking/Ordering a Rosca de reyes (Three Kings Bread)

  • A rosca de reyes is a pastry bread usually round (oval in larger sizes) decorated with dried fruit, caramel frosting, dulce de membrillo (Quince Jelly/candy) and Brown sugar traditionally made and served in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
  1. 1
    Determine the size of the kings' bread you need to serve at least one slice per person. It is important to count every member that is present or would like to participate even if they will not eat it.
  2. 2
    Stick and hide/cover a pair of small plastic dolls/figures or more if there are many persons within the bread with the frosting or quince candy. In Mexico there is a tradition where one doll represents Baby Jesus and any extra figurines represent the three Kings.
  3. 3
    Cut even sized slices and serve it on the table for everyone to pick the piece they want.
  4. 4
    Warn everyone that there is/are hidden plastic doll surprise in some slices and to look out if they or someone finds it on their slice. It is best if each person picks their own slice from any section they want.
    • The person who gets the doll will be responsible to host a feast or bring a dish for everyone at a set date. February 2nd El dia de la Candelaria (Candle-mas day) is traditionally the day of the feast and Pozole, Tamales, atole and champurrado are served.
    • It is said that whoever gets the doll will be blessed with good luck.
  5. 5
    Enjoy this sweet piece of bread with some hot chocolate or atole along with your family and friends.

Article Info

Categories: Holidays and Traditions