Three Kings’ Day, an ancient church feast day celebrated January 6, is also known as the Epiphany (illuminating discovery or realization), Twelfth Night, or Theophany (the manifestation of God). For Roman Catholics and Protestants, this is a celebration of the visit to the baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, who represented Europe, Arabia and Africa; for Eastern orthodox churches, it is a commemoration of the baptism of Jesus when he was 30 years old by John the Baptist. The six Sundays after the Epiphany are referred to as the time of manifestation.
The Twelfth Day of Christmas ends the Christmas season, and does not, as commonly thought, mean the twelve days proceeding Christmas.
Symbols for this day include the star that guided the Three Wise Men, and the gifts they brought for baby Jesus: gold, the essential oil frankincense, and the resin myrrh. White is the liturgical color for this celebration.
Different countries have different traditions to celebrate this feast:
Children leave their shoes outside to be filled with gifts in some European countries.
In Latin America, families make and eat a wreath-shaped bread called Rosca de Reyes, also known as King’s Ring.
The holiday carols sung during this season are called aguinaldos.
The parish priest blesses parishioners’ homes and gardens.
Children leave out hay and grass for the camels to eat.