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Cabo Rojo

A Second Christmas Day
El Dia de los Reyes Magos celebrates the Three Kings that in the Bible bestowed gifts upon Baby Jesus. In Puerto Rican tradition, on the night of January 5th, the kings come to every household to leave presents for the children.

As a child, I remember taking photos with them in shopping centers (just like I had done with Santa weeks earlier). I also remember picking grass from my grandpa's farm to leave for the camels. I remember tossing and turning at night in a struggle to power down the excitement rising in my heart.

The kings came to Catholic masses (as seen in the picture) and paraded across towns (in horses that for some reason I didn't realize weren't camels) all over Puerto Rico. But no town makes a better spectacle than Juana Diaz.

When I was little, I lived an hour away, but every year, my mom would wake me up before the crack of dawn and whisk me off to the far away land of candy dreams come true. Under balconies still adorned with Christmas lights, people crowded the streets in the kind of joyful spirit that one can only have at 4 a.m. if it's Christmas.

In majestic red, gold, and silver costumes and crowns studded with precious stones, the kings rode by us slowly. Candy rains down on us and waves from the king are better than the candy itself to adoring youngsters.

The kings' procession ends at a town square set up for the Eucharist and a reenactment that ends with the kings adoring Baby Jesus.
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Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico