El Dia de Los Reyes, Three Kings Day, is the culmination of the Christmas season. The holiday is very popular in Europe. In Spanish speaking countries the festive atmosphere is on par with Christmas Day. Even the Philippines, which was once a Spanish outpost, makes a big deal of the holiday. Prior to World War II, Hispanics in New Mexico widely celebrated January 6th. For many, El Día de Los Reyes was more exciting than Christmas, as children waited for arrival of the Three Kings and the gifts they brought.
The Kings Arrival
On the evening of January 5th many communities celebrate with a parade. The pageant includes colorful floats depicting the Three Kings in all of their regalia. In many coastal cities the three kings, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar arrive by boat. The next morning children awake to the aroma of fresh baked goods and presents. Today, few families in New Mexico continue to celebrate El Día de Los Reyes. But most keep their my Christmas decorations up until January 6th marking the end of the Christian holiday season.