How Chicagoans Celebrate Three Kings' Day

On January 6, Latino and Latin American Catholics celebrate Three Kings’ Day, or the Epiphany: the day three wise men from the East visited Baby Jesus.  It used to be that children in Latin America received gifts not on Christmas but on this feast day instead.  Before they fell asleep, children placed a pair of their shoes by their front doors, sometimes with hay as a treat for the camels accompanying los reyes magos when they delivered small gifts.

The traditional treat for everyone on this feast is a rosca de reyes, a king’s ring, with a ceramic or plastic Baby Jesus figure baked inside.  He or she who gets the baby in the slice is supposed to throw a party on February 2.

Many Chicagoans continue this religious and cultural tradition.  In 2003, I produced this piece as a contributor to Chicago Public Radio.

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