For many Latino families, the holidays – and the gift-giving season – aren’t over yet.
The 12 Days of Christmas are in full swing and will culminate on January 6, Día de los Reyes Magos, or Day of the Magi. Children are preparing for the arrival of the Three Kings by decorating baskets in which they will leave treats for los reyes, or hay for los reyes’ camels. But what the children look forward to the most is actually the night before the day also known as the Epiphany, when they set out their shoes in hopes that the Magi will be generous and leave a little gift for them to discover the next morning.
Some families place greater emphasis on this holiday for gift-giving than they do on Christmas, while others prefer to give smaller, more personal gifts. Here are a few fun ideas for educational gifts to give on Día de los Reyes Magos:
Epiphany (Koine Greek: ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation”, “striking appearance”) or Theophany (Ancient Greek (ἡ) Θεοφάνεια, Τheophaneia meaning “vision of God”), which traditionally falls on January 6, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.
Eastern Churches following the Julian Calendar observe the Theophany feast on what for most countries is January 19 because of the 13-day difference today between that calendar and the generally used Gregorian calendar.
Since 1970, the rule for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is: “The Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on 6 January, unless, where it is not observed as a Holy day of obligation, it has been assigned to the Sunday occurring between 2 and 8 January.”
In the Church of England also, the feast may be celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and 8 inclusive although the official date of epiphany in the UK is always January 6.
A separate celebration of the Baptism of the Lord was introduced for Latin Rite Roman Catholics in 1955. Initially, this was to be held on January 13, previously the octave day of the Epiphany, but in the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar the date was changed to the first Sunday after January 6. In countries where in a particular year the Epiphany falls on January 7 or 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the following Monday. In the Church of England, the same custom may be followed. In the Episcopal Church in the United States, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is always the Sunday after January 6.
Alternative names for the feast include (τα) Θεοφάνια, Theophany as neuter plural rather than feminine singular, η Ημέρα των Φώτων, i Imera ton Foton (modern Greek pronunciation), hē hēmera tōn phōtōn (restored classic pronunciation), “The Day of the Lights”, and τα Φώτα, ta Fota, “The Lights”.
In Puerto Rico, it is traditional for children to fill a box with fresh grass or hay and put it underneath their bed, for the Wise Men’s camels. The three kings will then take the grass to feed the camels and will leave gifts under the bed as a reward. These traditions are analogous to the customs of children leaving mince pies and sherry out for Father Christmas in Western Europe or leaving milk and cookies for Santa Claus in the United States.SOURCE