The Three Wise Men in different countries of the world

The coming of the Three Wise Men represents the pinnacle of Christmas in many Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Mexico and all Central America and South America, but also in other European countries such as Portugal, Andorra, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria or Poland. We may include as well some Asian and African countries with a Spanish colonial past.

This celebration takes place on January 6th, commemorating the arrival of the Magi Kings at Judea’s Bethlehem to visit the newborn Jesus. But in fact, the magic starts the previous night, on January 5th, where Their Majesties visit every home leaving presents for all family members, from the childs to the elder people. This includes you, of course, and we take for granted you behaved nice during the last year, so on January 6th you will unwrap your gifts as well.

Are you still enjoying this day the same way than where you were a little kid? We hope so, because dreams are the engine who move us forward. Today we’re going to give you in detail some features of this magical and endearing day: still for millions of people worldwide it’s their favourite date.


The Three Kings celebration origins

The Magi Day is a Christian tradition that celebrates the long-awaited visit of the Three Wise Men, also known as the Holy Kings, to Jesus’ Nativity scene after he was born. According to the New Testament, the Three Kings, wise Persian astrologists, followed a star from an unknown remoted area until finding the newborn Jesuchrist in Bethlehem: there he was tributed with three presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

From the IV century, it started to be commonly celebrated in Europe this ephemeris, and since then has been included in many Christian calendars all over the world as one of the most important holidays. In many countries, the tradition includes the customs and traditions of giving presents in the morning of January 6th and join a parade the last night: this is called the Three Kings Procession, representing their arrival followed by their retinue and packed with gifts for everybody.

Historians don’t have many sources about the so-called Magi Kings mentioned in the Bible’s New Testament. All details about their identities, origins and motivations are Limited and mostly legendary. Nonetheless, it’s possible that the Three Wise Men are a compound of different Ancient times’ traditions and legends, including some Persian tales and the king Cyrus’ wise soothsayers Greek legend. Some historians speculated as well about they were indeed governors or kings of some Ancient Persian region or inside the Middle East.

Although we don’t have historical conclusive evidences that sustain the Three Kings visit to Jesus, lots of Christian believers still support this tradition and it’s widely celebrated as part of their Catholic faith. For others, it’s a charming day full of joy where the act of exchanging presents is a chance to let fantasy run free and become again a kid, but being serious about that, a part of us never left the childhood, right?

The Three Wise Men celebration in Europe

As we previously stated, Spain is the European country with a more rooted tradition about the Three Kings celebration, but places like Germany, Belgium, Austria or Poland also enjoy this festivity. In fact, a legend says that the human remains of the Magi Kings are located under the Cologne cathedral, in Germany, and the person in charge of transporting those remains as a relic was the Emperor Frederick I of Hohenstaufen, also known as Kaiser Rotbart or Emperor Redbeard.

Other Europe countries like France also celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord day, though not for giving presents, as they chose Père Noël in Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Instead of this, on January 6th each family ‘choose their king’: a rounded pastry cake called Galette de Rois is bought, stuffing inside the dough a small king figure. Then, before serving, the cake is cutted into small portions and served to all family members. The one who finds the figure will become the king all day, wearing also a paper crown.

This tradition, also very popular in Belgium’s French side, is pretty much the same than the Spanish versión, being the pastry called ‘Roscón de Reyes’. The only significative different in this tradition is that the cake also contains a dried hard bean, and the one who finds it should pay for the whole dessert.

In Italy, gifts are delivered also by Santa Claus for the first time on December 25th, but on January 6th Italians also are waiting for the Befana arrival, an old lady with a hooked nose flying on a broom who brings also presents for the child. It could look like a grumpy witch, but instead of that she is a lovely friendly women loaded with sweets and presents, and maybe some coal for the bad behaved kids. According to the legend, the Befana visits everyone the night before the Epiphany, just as the Three Kings do in other countries. Although the Befana is a secular figure, her name is a deformation from Epiphany, a word that means ‘Magi Kings adoration’.


The Three Wise Men in Latin America

In South America and Central America, the Three Kings festivity is also widely popular and celebrated on January 6th as well. Countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay or Cuba are keeping the tradition alive.

In Mexico they enjoy so much this day that the whole day is celebrated also with parades, live music, special menus and after that, the giving time. Most of kids are also fully disguised as the Three Wise Men to join in many public activities, seeing most of the youth singing traditional carols and poetries in exchange of sweets and little presents. In short, they also end Christmas time as started, sharing lots of time in family with funny cultural and leisure activities.

If you already love ending Christmas time with another magic celebration or didn’t know about that until now, we can just wish you a Merry Three Kings Day, enjoying it another time or maybe for the first time ever. Who knows, maybe a gift from Corbeto’s Boots is waiting for you under the Christmas tree, as the Three Wise Man can bring in their load lots of western presents & gifts from our cowboy shop, such as cowboy boots, western shirts, ankle boots, cowboy hats, leather belts, accessories and many more… And if you’re going to transform yourself for a day into a particular Magi King of someone, you can always count on us to make the best January 6th day.




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