On January 6th, Christians observe Three Kings Day. This is also known as the Epiphany or El Dia De Reyes, honors the three wise men who visited Jesus Christ after his birth.
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.
Even if you are not Christian, this holiday can hold a special meaning. It is shortly after New Year's Day, but far enough away from all of the holiday festivities. This makes it a great time to put your home (and your life!) in order and enhance your New Year's resolutions with a ritual or two. These rituals can be done no matter what religion or tradition you follow.
The History of 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.
How The World Celebrates Three Kings Day
El Dia de Reyes, also known as the Epiphany, 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 figurine must make tamales for everyone on the Day of the Candles, February 2.
Offerings to the Three Kings for Blessings
In Puerto Rico, children cut grass and place it in a box the day before Three Kings Day. That night, they place the boxes by their beds, under their Christmas trees, or somewhere else that is easy to spot. It is said that that night, the three kings go from house to house to leave gifts. Their tired horses eat the grass that the children have left for them.
When you light the candle, say,
You went to honor the birth of Jesus,
Though he was a poor baby in a manger.
Help me to see the good and beauty in all things.
Help me to act with honesty, integrity, and generosity.
Bring blessings of comfort, safety, and good fortune to my home,
And help me be a way to bring those blessings to others.
Allow the candle to burn as long as you like. When you have finished, complete your offering-making by giving food, money, or necessary items to charities or people in need in your community. Bring more blessings to your home by being a blessing to others.
Three Kings Ritual for Spiritual Cleansing
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 of spring water
- 9 drops of Sandalwood Oil
- 9 drops of Frankincense Oil
- 9 drops of Myrrh Oil
- 3 drops of 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.
Three Kings Rituals for Protection
Ride the powerful current of the new year's energy and use this time to cleanse your home of all negativity. 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. Recite the following prayer as the incense burns.
God of Beginnings, accept this offering, sweet-smelling incense to make you glad.
Bless me at the beginning of this year, and bless my beginnings throughout the year.
Use a prepared floor wash or add several drops of frankincense and myrrh oil to your regular bucket of wash water and a cup or so of vodka or grain alcohol (in the absence of soap, the alcohol helps the oils mix with the water).
Mop your floors from back to front. As you do this, recite the 23rd Psalm or ask your angels, guides, ancestors, and deities to purge everything around you of negative energy. You can also play happy music, hum, sing, or do whatever it takes to infuse your space with uplifting, joyful feelings.
When you are through, carry the incense throughout the house. Waft the smoke into every corner of your home as you visualize your rooms filling with warm, golden energy. When you are through, thank your spirits, deities, and the generous spirit of the three kings. Ask them to bless and protect your home in the year to come.
Three Kings Ritual for Financial Success
Combine Frankincense Oil and Myrrh Oil to formulate your own Three Kings oil. Use this oil 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 financial goals.
Anoint a New Year's Candle with your oil and light it on Three Kings Day. While the candle is lit, take a few moments in meditation - visualizing reaching all of your money and financial goals.
Three Kings Ritual for Goal Setting
If you are like many people, you have made a resolution to start a new habit, break an old one, or reach a goal. You can empower these resolutions with a simple ritual.
Take an orange candle (orange is associated with happiness and personal success) and carve a short word or symbol related to your resolution in the wax. Anoint it with frankincense oil and, if you like, rub or sprinkle it with gold glitter.
Hold your hands over the unlit candle. Picture it filling up with optimistic, encouraging, strengthening energy. This will not achieve your goals for you, but it will give you the power you need. Out loud, ask your spirits for support, and ask the spirits of the three kings to help you approach your resolutions with truth, integrity, and discipline.
Light the candle. As it burns, allow yourself to receive inspiration. Do not visualize success just yet -- picture the steps you will take, and how you will achieve each one. Create a simple plan that you can follow. When you feel ready, snuff the candle and thank the spirits around you for their support. Save the candle and re-light it whenever you feel the need for strength.
The Epiphany is a time for giving and receiving blessings, cleansing the energy around you, and seeking to act with honesty and wisdom. These small, easy rituals can help you tap into the spirit of this season and work with it to improve your life.