Once the New Year’s celebrations are over, many Hispanic and Latino families get ready to celebrate the last seasonal holiday event on their calendar: Three Kings Day, or the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6.
The celebration takes place 12 days after Christmas, when families present gifts to the children, have meals with the traditional rosca de reyes (Kings Day bread), and dance to live music.
Based on the Bible’s Gospel of St. Matthew, the tradition marks the visit to Bethlehem of three kings — also referred to as Three Wise Men, or Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar — to present the baby Jesus with three gifts.
Due to the most recent COVID-19 surge, some organizers have limited their capacities this year to comply with the public health requirements, like proof of vaccination and masking, as most events are held indoors.
Cultural hub Taller Puertorriqueño, which is hosting an event on Thursday afternoon, closed its registration list Monday to enforce pandemic regulations and better manage their resources.
Anjanette Velazco, vice president for the community organization Peruvian Americans Together Here, said its Three Kings Day celebration is closed to the public this year. The event, to be held on Saturday at St. William Roman Catholic Church in Lawndale, is organized for 85 families who worship at the church.
Esperanza Arts Center just canceled its Three Kings Day Celebration due to the recent circumstances created by the pandemic.
Here are some celebrations planned in the Philadelphia area this week:
Where to celebrate Three Kings Day in the Philadelphia area
Jan. 6, 11 a.m. to noon, at Morning Glori Farmette, 131 Navy Lane, Evesham Township, N.J.
Children can hear the story of the Three Kings in Spanish and English, work on arts and crafts, sing popular villancicos and Christmas carols with family, and enjoy the rosca de reyes. The farm will also host a photo booth, games inspired in the Three Kings tradition, and feedings of their alpacas. General admission costs $15 per family. For more information, call 856-335-5799.
Jan. 6, 5 to 9 p.m., rental space, 335 W. Marshall St., Norristown
For the second annual Three Kings Toy Give-Away, the grassroots group Unides para Servir Norristown will host the caravana del parrandón — a 10-minute drive-by in Norristown with a live DJ and personifications of the Three Wise Men. Families can enjoy food, including the rosca de reyes, and children can receive a gift.
Organizers are still accepting toy donations for the children at the Episcopal Church of the Crucifixion at 807 Bainbridge St. in Philadelphia. Social distancing and masks are required. Free. For more info: 267-221-2920.
Jan. 6, 5:30 to 8 p.m., El Concilio, 141 E. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia
Children can enjoy storytelling and snacks at the Three Kings Day celebration during a limited time slot. The nonprofit will also present gifts to all children up to age 18. Families must reserve a pick-up time slot to attend by calling 215-607-3100. Masks are required. Free.
Jan. 8, 1 to 3 p.m., Lewis Elkin Elementary School, 3199 D St., Philadelphia
Community activists will host a Three Kings Day Gift giving Parranda caravan in Kensington and surrounding neighborhoods in North Philadelphia. The caravan will travel from Lewis Elkin Elementary School, where the gifts will be loaded onto the Los Rumberos Jeep Club vehicles, to drive through selected blocks where gifts will be dropped off outside of the homes of waiting children. For more information, call 215-410-9198. Social distance and masks are required. Free.