PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Christmas-time may be over in America, but in Hispanic culture, the height of Christmas season is celebrated on January 6.
It’s known as Three Kings Day, and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center hosted an event Saturday evening to mark the occasion.
“We celebrate Christmas, New Years and then “El Dia de Reyes,” explains Rocio Vazquez, who is deputy council of the Council of Mexico in Philadelphia.
Three Kings Day is another name for El Dia de Reyes.
“Three Kings is a Latin American tradition by which the children write letters to the Three Wise Men and ask for presents,” says Rafael Utrera with the Mexican Cultural Center in Philadelphia, “similarly to what kids in the United States do only for Santa Claus.”
A reenactment of the Three Wise Men arriving to meet Jesus kicked off the event. Children also go to write letters (if they hadn’t done so already) asking for gifts.
The three kings then handed out gifts.
“All types of gifts that were donated,” says Vazquez.
Another major part of Three Kings Day also happens to be seven-year-old Anna’s favorite part.
“The bread,” she excitedly told KYW Newsradio. “I found an angel in my bread.”
The bread Anna is referring to is Rosca de Reyes which is only served on Three Kings Day.
“And inside we have a little baby Jesus,” says Vazquez, “and it symbolizes Jesus escaping from King Herod’s. And also the roundness symbolizes the love of God.”
She says this was the largest Rosca de Reyes ever baked in Philadelphia. The line to try stretched even longer than the bread itself.
“We have the pinata,” says Utrera. “which is the Mexican tradition where there’s candy and goods and kids get to break it.”
The Three Wise Men helped hold that up, but quickly jumped out of the way when it was broken, and the dash for candy began.