Three King’s Day - Día de Reyes

In Argentina, on the 6th January is Dia de Reyes, or Day of the Kings, and it is celebrated as the end of the Christmas period. Epiphany - the day marking the arrival of the Three Wise Men to see the Baby Jesus - falls on the twelfth day of Christmas, or Twelfth Night. This is a traditional celebration in the UK, too, that is rarely celebrated today. It was celebrated with many strange traditions, and William Shakespeare even wrote a play to be performed on the special night. But while Twelfth Night is a near forgotten tradition in the UK, it is still alive and well in Argentina, being celebrated by families all over the country with traditions and customs of their own.
The celebration begins the night before the Dia de Reyes on the Noche de Reyes - or Night of the Kings. Children will leave their shoes by the door, or sometimes under the tree, having written letters to the Kings, much like many children do to Santa Claus or Father Christmas in other parts of the world. They also leave water and grass for the Kings’ camels, horses and even elephants. Then, overnight, the children are visited by the Kings and are left gifts inside their shoes. Of course, the Kings only visit good children, and miss any children who are awake. But this is just the beginning of the festivities.
 sweets in children's shoes
In many parts of Argentina there are parades through the streets, with people dressing as the Wise Men on horseback. Often, people dressed as the Three Kings will visit childrens’ hospitals and homes and hand out gifts, spreading the Christmas cheer. Families will often visit these parades and events as part of their Dia de Reyes celebration.
 parade on horseback
When they return home, families will almost always share the traditional food of the holiday: Rosca de Reyes. This is a special cake in the shape of a ring which symbolises the crowns of the Kings, and it is topped with custard, eggs, candied fruit and sugar. Of course, people will often have a big family meal, and every Argentine family event is often marked with a traditional asado: an Argentine barbeque. Then usually people will ceremonially take down the Christmas decorations, marking the end of the holiday season.
 a circular cake with sweets on top
And that is how the people of Argentina celebrate the Dia de Reyes on the 6th January: with presents (such as a polo belt or a small keyring), parades, and pastry. Sounds lovely! Will you be taking part in the Dia de Reyes this year? However you may be celebrating the festive period this year, we wish you a Merry Christmas from pampeano!