Three Wise Men


The informant recounts the different religious and cultural stories that he heard while growing up as a child.

In the transcript of our conversation, he is identified as S (storyteller) and I am identified as C (collector).


S: Do you have the thing of the three wise men? It’s a Catholic thing.


C: No… can you explain it?


S: Like you put your shoes out and then the three wise men from Jesus’ birth come and give you gifts


C: Oh.. is that it?


S: That’s pretty much it. Like parents put money in your shoes obviously instead of the three wise men. It usually happens around Christmas but I forget the exact date.


C: Oh so is this something that you or your family did?


S: Yeah. Well it’s a catholic thing. Popular in Spanish speaking countries.




Biblical stories are often told for the lessons they are able to impart on the listener, but also for entertainment. The tale of the Three Wise Men is one such story that encompasses many functions. The three men are figures of great status in society and they all see an unusual new star in the sky, and knew that it told of the birth of a special king in Israel. This marks the coming of Christ into the world and the spark of Christianity as it exists today. To welcome Jesus’ arrival, they presented him with gifts that hold symbolic meanings in Christianity. Gold was given as something that is associated with kings and the idea that Jesus was to be the King of other kings. The other two are Frankincense, a symbol used to show that people would worship Jesus and
Myrrh, a perfume that showed Christians of Jesus’ eventual suffering and death. The act of giving gifts is still something that we do til this day and it is curious to see if many base their tradition of gift giving to this tale in the Bible.


For another version, see: All About the Wise Men

Cooper, James. “The Christmas Story – All About The Wise Men.” The History of The Christmas Story — Whychristmas?Com,