What Is the Meaning of Three Kings Day in Puerto Rico?


Quick Answer

Three Kings Day is celebrated on the 12th day of Christmas in recognition of baby Jesus being adored by the three Kings. When baby Jesus was born, the three Kings followed a star across the dessert for 12 days in order to reach Bethlehem and bless baby Jesus with gifts.

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Full Answer

In Puerto Rico, the people exchange presents and leave grass-filled shoe boxes as food for the Wise Men's steed. Good children typically receive presents and candy, and bad children receive dirt or charcoal. In modern day, the majority of gifts are exchanged on Christmas Day, but many Puerto Rican families reserve a special gift to be given to their children on Three King's Day.

The three Kings are also known as the three Wise Men. The story of their trip to Bethlehem is told in the Gospel of Matthew. Melchior represented Europe, Caspar represented Arabia and Balthazar represented Africa.

The Three Wise Men rode a horse, a camel and an elephant respectively across the dessert, and they knew which way to go by following the Star of Bethlehem across the sky. One wise man brought Jesus gold, which acted as an acknowledgment of Jesus' royal status among the Jewish people. The second brought him frankincense, which represented Jesus' divine nature, as he was the son of God. The third brother brought a myrrh, which foreshadowed Jesus' mortality and his eventual death that cleansed the human race of its sins.

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