January 6, Epiphany, is known as El Día de los Reyes, Three Kings Day, in Puerto Rico. It is a really big celebration, and before the arrival of Santa Claus with the American influence, it was much more important than December 25. It probably continues to be. As I child growing up in New York, my parents celebrated both, and my wife and I continued this dual tradition in our home as our children grew up.
In Puerto Rico, the tradition is that children will put a box of grass and a bowl of water on the floor by the bed on the evening of January 5. These are for the camels of the Tres Santos Reyes, the Three Holy Kings, who stop and visit each child as they make their way to Bethlehem. In gratitude for the child’s thoughtfulness, the three kings leave a few gifts.
Growing up in New York, grass is hard to come by in January, so we only left water. 🙂