How three different cultures share a tradition called Three Kings Day
As an honor of keeping intact the beautiful tradition of Three Kings Day, Dreams in Heels decided to share how three different cultures celebrate this special day, which marks the end of the Holiday Season for them. These three cultures are: France, Italy and Puerto Rico.
Diana from LadyDeeLG – Celebrating Three Kings Day / La Fête des Rois in France
In France, Three Kings day or as it is known in France, l’Epi phanie is celebrated by eating a galette des rois (kings’ cake). In Northern France, the galette is made of puff pastry and filled with an almond-filled filling called frangipane. In Southern France, it is called a gâteau des rois and it is a brioche (sweet bread) in a round shape with a hole in the middle, and with dried fruits on top. A small porcelain charm called a fève is hidden inside the cake. It is called a feve because in the Middle Ages, when the tradition started, there was a bean inside instead of a porcelain or plastic figurine. When you buy the galette, it comes with a crown which will be given to the person that finds the fève. The tradition says that the youngest child goes underneath the table, and someone cuts the cake. The child chooses who gets each piece of cake. The person that finds the fève gets the crown and is crowned king or queen for the day. The galette can be enjoyed with tea, coffee, wine and even champagne!
– Diana Limongi
Claudia from My Adventures Across the World – Celebrating Three Kings Day / Epifania in Italy
Epifania is how we call Three Kings Day in Italy, and to us it signals the end of the Christmas holiday season. There even is a saying: “E poi arriva l’Epifania, che tutte le feste si porta via,” which roughly translated means that the Three Kings Day puts an end to all celebrations.
Most children in Italy know Epifania as il giorno della Befana – the day in which Befana comes. The Befana is an old lady, dressed in poor clothes and creepy looking (big crooked nose, ugly teeth, white hair and a big hunch) and flying a broom, much like a witch. She carries presents for children, like Santa Klaus. And while the rest of the world puts the socks out to be filled by Santa Klaus, the tradition in Italy is to put the sock out on the night of the 5th of January to be filled by Befana. Socks are usually filled with small presents – candies, nuts, peanuts, chocolates.
But beware! Together with the sock, it is also necessary to put some refreshments for the Befana (some liquor, some fruits), or else she will get mad at the kids, think they have behaved badly throughout the year and only leave coal and ashes as presents. I only know too well – as a child, it happened a few times that I was so naughty that Befana left me with a good bag of coal and ashes.
– Claudia Tavani
Dreams in Heels – Celebrating Three Kings Day in my island, Puerto Rico
On Three Kings Day, my island Puerto Rico is full of joy, music, food, drinks and gifts. You not only get gifts at your home, but you can go to the post office to get free gifts. You can expect parades and festivals, family gatherings and parties with a more spiritual feeling. Old San Juan throws an annual festival at El Paseo de La Princesa and La Fortaleza (The White House of the Governor of Puerto Rico) with live music, food and drink, with free gifts given out to lucky kids whose parents make long lines. I used to go with my family and it was a blast. My best memories are not the gifts which most of the time were given to me by the hands of the current governor of Puerto Rico (since he was there to shake your hand and hand out gifts), but of sharing time with my family. The highlight for me was the artists. I always love music and I always had VIP Backstage access. I met so many artists during that big event since they used to have a big stage with live music. Some of the artists I spent time with backstage were: Gilberto Santa Rosa, Olga Tanon, Elvis Crespo, MDO (Menudo), Victor Manuel, and many more.
Another event was on Three Kings Day Eve, where you could also enjoy celebration in San Juan with its Mayor, where they had live music, food, activities and gifts for the kids. I was one of those lucky kids every year.
As a kid, I was so excited to pick up grass with my mother and grandma to leave for the camels. I also used to leave them water. It was part of the innocence and the magic of being a child! In most homes in my island, Puerto Rico, even under the Christmas Tree you will always find carvings of the three kings on camels. It is a tradition that is alive nowadays even-though usually kids get the bigger gifts during Christmas day and a more simpler or meaningful gift during The Three Kings Day.
– Olga Maria
Do you celebrate Three Kings Day? Tell us about your experience by commenting below!