If you grew up Latin American (or Spaniard) and Catholic, the Chrismas season isn’t over yet. This morning probably finds you celebrating with goodies left by the Reyes Magos, and having a wonderful sweet bread called Rosca de Reyes for breakfast with a huge cup of hot chocolate, atole or champurrado to wash it down. Jan. 6 is El Día de Los Reyes Magos or “Reyes” and Los Angeles is brimming with celebration. To anglos, they are the Three Wise Men, and others refer to this as the Day of the Magi.

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In my family, Santa Claus brought kids ‘necessities’ like socks, underwear and school supplies. Los Reyes Magos were the ones to expect a bike or an Atari game from. It is a celebration of innocence and childhood through the birth of baby Jesus. In many ways, it makes more sense than Santa Claus.

The story goes that the three Reyes or Kings – Melchor, Gaspar and Balthasar – came from far off lands in ‘Oriente’ (the East). They had heard of the birth of baby Jesus and for a long time trailed the desert on their camels following a star to Bethlehem. The star, known as the Star of Bethlehem, was an emissary guiding them to the newborn. They each bore a gift for Jesus – gold, incense and myrrh.

For our last holiday season installment, Sonic Trace visited Our Lady of Victory Parish in the city of Compton. This community does a re-enactment of the arrival of Los Reyes. Mass ends with candy, a gift give-away and a huge party with a piñata, Rosca de Reyes and a DJ blasting everything from Gangnam Style to Tootsie Roll. See for yourselves.

Lebanon, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Quebec celebrate January 6th. It is the day of the “Epiphany” in Catholicism – Intern extraordinaire Samantha Blanchard is waiting for the Kings cake from New Orleans.
How does your culture celebrate the Three Wise Men? Or the Day of the Magi? Let us know.

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