It happens every year, shortly after the New Year, and it is a much-adored holiday and celebration among the Latin American community. With ties to Christmas, and celebrated by many Latin American countries, some of us may even be familiar with this festive celebration.
Those who have neighboring communities of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Latin origins may have noticed, heard, or even witnessed this special holiday. These are the countries that celebrate Reyes Magos, also often referred to as Three Kings Day.
The following countries traditionally celebrate Reyes Magos, and often have elaborate events and celebrations to commemorate this holiday.
In early January, actually falling on January 6th in 2023, all of Spain and many other countries and communities join together to share and celebrate the gift-giving event of Reyes Magos. There is much about Reyes Magos that might sound and feel a little more than familiar too.
In the Biblical account of the three wise men, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, gifts were brought to the child Savior born in Bethlehem, Jesus. Spain and other European countries have recognized this event since the earliest days of civilization.
In the US, the birth of Jesus is celebrated on the 25th of December. In essence, Reyes Magos is one of the other popular versions of the Christmas holiday celebrated outside of the Western culture. The similarities are made complete with Reyes Magos as the three wise men essentially replace Santa in this holiday celebration.
In the largest cities in places like Spain, this day is filled with parades, that include dancers, music, and food. Gifts are traditionally exchanged during this holiday too, hence the aforementioned wise men.
The celebration of Reyes Magos also reminds us of something else, regardless of what countries celebrate Reyes Magos, we see how similar we are. Yes, we call it by a different name, but call it Christmas or Reyes Magos, doesn't it mean the same thing?
So this year, when we remember what countries celebrate Reyes Magos, maybe we can smile a little more realizing that we are connected - even if in some distant way. The more connected the world becomes via internet technologies, perhaps the more about these holidays and shared traits we'll discover.
So Merry Christmas, and happy Reyes Magos!
The countries that have official Reyes Magos celebrations include Spain, Venezuela, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, and Cuba.