Observed on January 6, Three Kings Day or El Dia De Reyes honors the three wise men that followed the star of Bethlehem to the location of the baby Jesus. Signifying the end of the twelve days of Christmas, this day of celebration pays tribute to the Three Magi. These priests, Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar, acknowledged that a momentous event had occurred, and traveled the desert for twelve days to reach Bethlehem.
Three Kings Day is recognized in the Catholic religion as Epiphany. Meaning ‘manifestation’, the Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the two events that are said to have taken place on January 6th. On this day, Christians believe that Jesus was visited by the three wise men and he was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.
The Gifts of the Magi
There are differing opinions about the countries that the three wise men originated from. Some scholars believe that the priests traveled to Jerusalem from Persia. Others believe that their journeys began from three different points, Europe, Asia and Arabia, and followed the bright star to the baby Jesus’ manger. One thing that is agreed upon is the gifts that the magi presented to the King of Kings. These symbolic gifts remain important components in the rituals performed in today’s religious ceremonies.
Melchior brought gold as his offering to the young king. This Arabian ruler presented his gift of the precious metal as a symbol of Jesus’ royalty. Gold has always been known as a rare and valuable commodity. This gift represents the acknowledgment by the magi of Jesus’ divinity.
Frankincense was the next gift bestowed upon the tiny babe. Presented to Jesus by Caspar, this highly fragrant resin is commonly burned during religious worship. Symbolizing holiness and righteousness, frankincense was considered a holy scent used by priests and kings. By accepting this gift, the baby Jesus was recognized as royalty.
The last gift presented to the new king was myrrh. King Balthasar offered this medicinal resin as a symbol of Jesus’ ability to heal and of his mortality and the inevitable suffering he would eventually endure for his people.
Three Kings Day Celebrated
El Dia de Reyes has been commemorated in countries across the globe for centuries. Children and adults pay tribute to Jesus and the three magi in a variety of ways. In many Latin American countries, Three Kings Day is the day that gifts are exchanged. Children line their shoes by the door the night before and fill them with hay for the king’s camels to snack on. The children wake up on January 6 to find the hay gone and gifts and candies left in their place.
In many countries, festive parades are held to honor the three kings of the magi. Men dress up in flowing robes to symbolize the wise men. Large feasts are held, featuring arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas), tembleque (coconut dessert) and delicious Rosca de Reyes (Kings Bread). This round treat is baked with a tiny baby Jesus figurine inside of it. Whoever gets the slice of bread with the Jesus must make tamales for everyone on the Day of the Candles, February 2.
Rituals to Honor the Three Kings
Three Kings Day represents much more than the birth of Jesus. People recognize this holiday as a chance at a fresh start. It is a perfect opportunity to achieve purification, protection and wisdom in the New Year.
On the Eve of the Epiphany, write the letters C, M and B, over your front door in chalk. Write the year under the letters. The letters represent the names of the three wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Burn 3 Kings Incense on top of charcoal, making sure to pass the fragrant incense all around your door frame. This simple spell of protection will cleanse your home from negativity. Recite the following prayer as the incense burns.
God of Beginnings, accept this offering, sweet-smelling incense to make you glad.
Bless me on the beginning of this year, and bless my beginnings throughout the year.
Magical oils contain spiritual properties that can assist you in rituals and anointing spells. Combine Frankincense Oil and Myrrh Oil to formulate your own Three Kings oil. Use the oil to promote honesty, truth and wisdom throughout the year. Anoint a 3 Kings 7 Day Prayer Candle with your oil and light it on Three Kings Day. The oil can also be used to anoint Iron Pyrite Nuggets. Symbolizing the gold that was presented to the baby Jesus, these stones are excellent additions to your altar, and are helpful tools in reaching your spiritual and financial goals.
Spiritual baths are also widely used on Three Kings Day to foster success and luck. Create your own Three Kings bath by combining in a ceramic or glass bottle:
- 2 cups spring water
- 9 drops Sandalwood Oil
- 9 drops Frankincense Oil
- 9 drops Myrrh Oil
- 3 drops Amber Oil
Draw a bath and sprinkle a few drops of the mixture into the water. Submerge yourself in the bath water and focus your intentions on the prosperity you wish to attain this year.