Three Kings Day Customs: Food, Giving & Celebrating
On January 6th in many Hispanic countries, the Day of the Three Kings, or Los Reyes, is celebrated. This day marks the biblical adoration of the magi or the three kings that came to visit the newborn baby Jesus. Each king comes bearing a gift. Traditionally on this day gifts are exchanged and, on the island of Puerto Rico, another sweet and interesting tradition occurs with children writing a letter to los reyes asking for gifts. Then, on the night before the Day of the Three Kings, children gather cut grass and place it in a box underneath their bed. The grass is meant for the kings’ camels to eat. In exchange for the grass, and in gratitude, the kings leave a special little gift for the children!
Learn about the extended holiday season and the traditions and celebrations that accompany Three King’s Day through reading, baking, crafting, and celebrating in our post, Three King’s Day Offers Multi-Cultural Learning.
Culinary Spotlight: Puerto Rican Pasteles
In Puerto Rico, pasteles are a common dish to prepare and eat on Christmas Eve. Pasteles consist of a filling wrapped in banana leaf. The filling can include pork, shredded green plantain, shredded potato, and calabazas (pumpkins); it is seasoned with bay leaves, tomato, annatto oil, adobo seco, and sofrito. Pasteles are quite labor-intensive and are usually prepared ahead of time and then frozen. When they are ready to be eaten, they can be boiled. Click here to search for a recipe.
Interested in tasting a pastel? The city of Holyoke is full of authentic Puerto Rican restaurants that serve traditional cuisine of the island. Make sure to try arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) too!
Download our Nov/Dec issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts to discover winter holiday traditions being celebrated across the region.
[Photo credit: (cc) Angélica Portales]