4 Ways to Bring Your Three Kings Celebration to Life

The Christmas season culminates with Three Kings Day, a beloved holiday that falls annually on Jan. 6. Three Kings Day commemorates the visit of the three wise men, or Magi, to the newborn Jesus. Children eagerly await gifts from the Magi on the holiday, and families and friends gather to share delicious food. What better way to celebrate this tradition than by throwing a Three Kings Day party including these five key elements.

A King's Ring on parchment beside a bowl of oranges and dried fruit.

Rosca de Reyes

The most important element of any Three Kings Day celebration is the whimsical Rosca de Reyes, or King's Ring — a sweet, wreath-shaped bread topped with dried fruit representing jewels on a crown. This easy recipe is made with common pantry items like yeast, flour, granulated sugar and Carnation® evaporated milk. Tradition calls for embedding a figurine of baby Jesus in the dough. Be prepared to throw another party if the figurine ends up on your plate. According to tradition, the person who draws it is expected to host a Candlemas feast on Feb. 2, a holiday that commemorates the temple presentation of Jesus.

A mug of Mexican style hot chocolate beside bowls of chili powder and cinnamon sticks.

Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate

Indulge your guests with a traditional accompaniment to the Rosca de Reyes: a frothy cup of Mexican-style hot chocolate. You can whip up a batch from scratch using chocolate chips, cinnamon, chili powder, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, but you'll spend less time at the stove and more time enjoying the party if you use authentic Abuelita™ Hot Chocolate tablets or powdered mix to achieve the same taste. If you want even more of a spicy kick, and for a lovely yet effortless presentation, garnish each mug with one or two whole cinnamon sticks and a dusting of chili powder.

Fried dough pastries, known as buñuelos, are a hallmark of the Christmas season in Latin America, and they're a great addition for any Three Kings Day celebration. This recipe creates these festive treats in the shape of stars to commemorate the Magi following the Star of Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. It’s simple to make and balances a delicious combination of cinnamon, sugar and vanilla.

Two paper crowns beside construction paper, scissors and colored pencils.

Meaningful Three Kings Decor

The story of the Magi brims with inspiration for stunning table settings and opportunities to educate your kids on the tradition in a fun way. It's said that the three wise men traveled by horse, camel, and elephant. You can capture this endearing part of the story by incorporating the likenesses of these animals in the form of figurines or cutouts. Other important elements that make great decorations include the Star of Bethlehem, and, of course, crowns. Distribute cardboard or construction paper to the kids, so they can make crowns of their own to wear while sitting around the table — the activity will keep them entertained while you get ready for the party.

A pair of shoes filled with candy beside a brick fireplace.

Gifts of the Magi

On the eve of Three Kings Day, it’s customary for children in Latin America to line up their shoes outside their doors in hopes that the Magi will fill them with gifts. Make the celebration just as thrilling for your kids by incorporating this tradition, and don’t forget to fill the shoes with toys and treats during the night. In another fun custom, kids everywhere are sure to enjoy filling up boxes of grass or hay for the kings’ animals — a gesture akin to leaving milk and cookies for Santa.