PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Thursday is Three Kings Day, a huge Christian holiday for many throughout the world.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu attended a celebration in Paterson, where the holiday included gifts for children in the area.READ MORE: Teatro SEA Continuing Three Kings Day Tradition Despite Spike In COVID Cases
“I got this pillow, this Ninja Turtle coloring [book], and this soccer ball,” elated 9-year-old Quinton Turner said.
Along with presents for the kids, the city gave away jugs of hand sanitizer, masks, and brought in a mobile unit for COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
Three Kings Day is celebrated by many Latino families, 12 days after Christmas on Jan. 6. It marks the end of the holiday season and it represents the time when the Wise Me,n also known as the Three Kings, came to visit Jesus.
“So there was three people. They went to give God three gifts, and also they went to Bethlehem. They were following the star,” 6-year-old Joseph Maestrey said.READ MORE: Miranda, De Blasio Help Puerto Rican Families Celebrate Three Kings Day In NYC
When asked how important the holiday is to his family, resident Rocio Campana said, “Really important, because everyone gets together and opens their gifts for their children or grandchildren.”
Many of the parades and celebrations have gone virtual this year due to COVID.
Teatro Sea, a Latino theater for children on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, has celebrated the holiday with puppets and presents for the past 21 years. And while it is online this year, it displayed the puppets outside and shared some of the traditions similar to Christmas. Instead of reindeer, kids leave food for the camels of the Three Kings.
“The kids, they get an empty shoe box and they put grass and they put it underneath their bed. That’s grass for the camels,” the theater’s Manuel Moran said.
While the festivities may differ by culture, they almost always include a King Cake. It’s filled with cinnamon and topped with colored sugar. A figure of Baby Jesus is hidden inside and whoever finds it, is “King” or “Queen” for the day.MORE NEWS: Best Things To Do This Weekend In NY: Jan. 6 & 7
The holiday is also known as the “Feast of the Epiphany” and “Little Christmas.”