Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, our winter holiday season didn’t end on the 1st of January like in most American households; we finished ours after Three Kings Day or El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos on January 6th. In our house we would get presents from Santa Claus and our family on Christmas but on January 5th my brother and I would collect grass from outside and put it under our beds for the Three Kings’ camels. The next day there would be an extra present under the tree. This holiday celebrates when the Three Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem to receive the King of Kings, Jesus.
This is something that I wanted to make sure that I passed on to my children. Last year we just kept the tree up until after the 6th with no presents but this year I found a post about a Tres Reyes party for Puerto Ricans living on Okinawa. My Spanish is terrible but decided that I would make some arroz con gandules and take my family to the Reyes party on the base. I invited the only other Puerto Rican I know, since he’s married to a friend of mine so at least I would have someone to talk to.
The food was fabulous and I was happy that my rice was eaten as I don’t have a lot of practice cooking it.
The hosts had activities for the kids and even rented a jumpy castle for them. G had a blast running around yelling at all the kids in English. She unfortunately only knows five or six words in Spanish.
Dani just practiced walking all over and melting hearts along the way. They were both exhausted when we got home.
I hope to continue this each year. If there is no party next year, I will make sure that I make Puerto Rican food to make up for it. My husband loves pernil. The girls LOVED the arroz I made, especially the little one. She loves to eat.