Three Kings Day was Wednesday, but since it’s midweek, marketing geniuses at Macy’s Westland Mall in Hialeah chose Saturday as the day to celebrate the traditional “second Christmas’’ of Spanish-speaking countries.
The store’s second floor became the stage where crowds of children and their parents took pictures of the actors who played the Biblical Magi — Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar — during Macy’s event, an annual tradition.
“We come here to maintain the tradition of the Magi, which is held in our countries,” said Aly Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico, who helped her son Christian, who turns 2 in February, write a letter to the Magi.
For children in Latin America, the feast of the Three Kings is celebrated Jan. 6.
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The tradition in Spanish-speaking countries is that children receive gifts twice — both on Christmas and Three Kings Day.
The festival derives from the tradition that the Magi came from the Far East bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh to honor the baby Jesus, born in a manger in Bethlehem.
Another family who was writing a letter to Santa Claus at Macy’s were immigrants from Ecuador.
Julie Flores helped Leah, 5, and Levi, 4, write their letter.
Then many of the children posed for photos with the actors — all part of the celebration.
The actors who played Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar did not bring the traditional gifts, but posed for photos with the children.
Many families also took selfies with the Magi.
“It’s basically something inspired by Latin culture to keep alive our and values roots for the children,” said Carla Curiel, originally from the Dominican Republican, and one of the organizers of the event for lifestyles brand Mundo Lanugo.