Happy New Year – Feliz Año Nuevo!
Welcome to 2017! Mark your calendars for these cultural events that await you throughout the year.
The Puerto Rican Tradition
Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, is one of the most important holidays on the Puerto Rican calendar. Traditionally, the island, and most of the Latin world, marked the eve of January 6 as the day to exchange presents rather than December 25. Kids would also gather grass, hay or straw in shoe-boxes for the Magi’s horses or camels — a charming alternative to cookies and milk for Santa. (Traditionally, you’ll find carvings and artwork of the three kings on horses instead of camels; that’s because the country folk in years past didn’t know what a camel was.)
Good kids were rewarded with presents and candy, while bad kids ended up with charcoal or even dirt (which begs the question: How bad do you have to be to get dirt for Christmas?)
Today, children typically get their main presents on the 25th, but there’s always a smaller, humbler, and perhaps even more rewarding gift reserved for Three Kings Day.
The Three Kings are also a mainstay of Puerto Rican arts and crafts. They are among the most popular subjects for the island’s santos, or handmade figurines of saints and other religious persons, and practically every souvenir shop worth its salt will carry some homage to them.
Click here for all upcoming 2017 events!