What Is Three Kings Day (El Día de Los Reyes)?
For many U.S. Latinos, Christmas isn’t the end of the holiday season. There’s another important holiday just around the corner—and brands should take notice.
While almost everyone in the U.S. is familiar with Christmas (whether you celebrate it or not), there’s another less-well-known day of celebration that comes just 12 days later.
Three Kings Day, also known as El Día de Los Reyes and Epiphany, takes place every year on January 6. This holiday commemorates the day the three kings arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the baby Jesus.
In this informative Quartz article, author Ashley Rodriquez, who notes her grandparents migrated to the U.S. from Puerto Rico in the 1950s, states:
“The holiday is nearly as significant as Christmas in many Spanish-speaking regions like Puerto Rico, Spain, and Latin America… My grandfather said Three Kings Day was a long and raucous affair back on the island.”
This NBC News report notes:
“For many Hispanics, el Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos is more symbolic of Christmas—with its biblical story involving the baby Jesus—than Santa Claus.”
Celebrating Three Kings Day in the United States
In the United States, Three Kings Day is celebrated each year in many communities with different events and parades—including one that’s been hosted by the El Museo del Barrio in New York City for four decades. Disneyland even honors Three Kings Day with a three-day-long celebration.
Notable Three Kings Day traditions include: Cooking and eating Rosca de Reyes (“King’s Ring”), a sweet round or oval pastry shaped like a wreath; and children leaving out shoes with hay in them for the wise men’s camels at night and finding the hay replaced with a gift or toy in the morning.
Rodriquez notes in her article that as the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow, Three Kings Day is also taking on increasing significance for retailers trying to reach this audience. She states:
“As the share of Hispanics in the US ballooned over the last two decades, retailers and advertisers gradually began adding Three Kings Day to their holiday calendars in an effort to reach the country’s growing segment of Hispanic shoppers—and extend the holiday shopping season.”
She also notes that Three Kings Day marketing efforts have been relatively minimal thus far. So this holiday remains a mostly untapped marketing opportunity for brands.