We often hear the comment that Puerto Ricans are up for celebrating just about anything. There are celebrations upon celebrations. The celebration of Three Kings Day is part of our culture and traditions – so it is not just another festive moment in lieu of nothing better to celebrate. For Christians, it’s the day of the Epiphany – the day commemorating the manifestation of the infant Jesus to the Gentiles by the Magi (the Three Wise Men) – but in the Puerto Rican tradition, it has become a day to celebrate the sharing spirit manifested by parents sharing with their children. That sharing spirit also manifests itself in the community. The sharing can take the form of gifts or special treats. At the community level, it can take the form of music and food.
It’s the spirit of sharing that’s the most fundamental element of the tradition of celebrating Three Kings Day, because such a spirit cannot be commodified. We can look at the way a group of Puerto Ricans decided to share that spirit with the children of Vieques during the campaign to get the Navy out of Vieques. It decided to provide the children with a very festive day including giving them non-violent and non-military gifts. The children, every year since the group started the project, have been provided with gifts and with activities that are true expressions of the sharing spirit. It’s becoming a tradition. The same could be said about the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. A group of people have been celebrating Three Kings Day by sharing with the children gifts and by involving the community in this important and significant celebration.
By Puerto Ricans celebrating Three Kings Day in the Diaspora, we are being shown that we can observe and celebrate our traditions wherever we are. Let’s keep celebrating Three Kings Day and passing the tradition down to future generations. It’s always good to maintain a celebratory spirit, even when conditions are hard. Enjoy this holiday.
En resistencia y lucha, OLR.