Day of the Three Kings
Collector: “HR, as a Mexican woman, today you will be talking about a popular holiday celebrated within your Christian family, the Day of the Three Kings.“
Informant: “Yes, El dia de los tres reyes, such a big holiday within Christian Latin America. It’s almost as big as Christmas, and kind of commoderates the same traditions and rituals, essentially the giving of gifts. I love it because ever since I was a little girl, I would always get double the amount of gifts as some of my friends.“
Collector: “Are you aware of its origins and history?“
Informant: “Vaguely, I think it follows three kings who followed the star of Bethlehem to reach Jesus Christ after he was born. They reached him on the twelfth day of Christmas, January sixth, and brought him lots of gifts. It’s very similar to Christmas in that they basically both celebrate Jesus.“
Collector: “What else would your family do besides gift-giving?“
Informant: “Well since the Day of the Three Kings celebrates the life of Jesus, we sort of just celebrated living. We would come together with our extended family and have a huge feast, almost on the same level as Thanksgiving. It really is such a great holiday.”
Although not a Christian myself, I can acknowledge that the bible as a collection, or string, of stories, contains a plethora of folk rituals, superstitions, and celebrations. Its vastness, and rich content, may remind one of the Kalevala, a Finnish collection of thirty-two poems, depicting many magical, supernatural stories originating from Finland. Coming from a Puerto Rican background, I am aware that my mother use to celebrate the Day of Three Kings when she was a little girl in Puerto Rico. It’s a tradition that she, for some reason, did not pass on to me and my siblings, and stopped practicing once she reached America. This would make her a passive bearer of Day of the Three Kings since she doesn’t really discuss it much with us either. Similar to HR, she would rejoice in the holiday anytime it came because it meant double the number of gifts for her also. A noticeable difference I noticed between HR’s recollection of the holiday versus my mother’s, is that my mother’s family would place three mirrors somewhere in the home, all facing the same direction with proximity to each other. This was something used to acknowledge the benevolence of the three kings, and how we can hopefully all find that same good faith within ourselves, through our reflections.