The Three Kings arrived in Hialeah on Saturday. They greeted hundreds of children who were eagerly awaiting their arrival at the Macy’s store in Westland Mall .
Children posed for photos with Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar, had their faces painted in an assortment of designs and colors and ate cookies and cake as part of the much-anticipated event traditionally celebrated by many Hispanics.
“It’s like a second Christmas for kids,” said Cristina Cabrera, mother of 5-year-old Angelina Fariña, who waited with anticipation for Maria Obourke, a make-up artist, to paint her face.
Cabrera took her daughter to see the Three Wise Men at Macy’s because the store sent her family an invitation to participate in the annual event through the mail.
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For children in Latin America, the Three Kings festivities are celebrated on Jan. 6. However, since the holiday landed on a weekday this year, shopping centers hosting Three Kings’ events decided to celebrate the event early.
The tradition in Spanish speaking countries is that children receive gifts twice — on Christmas with Baby Jesus and Santa Claus, and then again on Three Kings Day.
The festivity stems from the tradition that the Three Kings came from the faraway Orient with gold, incense and myrrh to pay homage to Baby Jesus who was just born in a manger in Bethlehem.
In the Macy’s store located at Westland Mall , the Cuban actors who represented Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar didn’t bring the traditional gifts; instead they brought paper crowns for children and took individual photos with each child.
An immensely long line that reached the second floor of the store formed quickly as children and their parents rushed to have their photo snapped alongside the Three Kings. The Three Wise Men also distributed different candies and sweet cookies to the children present and set some aside on a small table near the stage where they made their grand appearance.
Each time a child or a group of children would get close to the Three Kings, the child’s relatives would rush to take out their smart phones and snap photos or shoot video of the tender moment.
Angelina, Cristina Cabrera’s daughter, was getting her face painted when she said she wanted a guitar as a gift from the Three Kings.
But Angelina’s mother said that the gifts she planned to give her daughter this year for Three Kings Day are clothes and a pair of skates.
“She waits for gifts on Christmas and on Three Kings Day,” said Cabrera, whose family is from Cuba but gave birth to Angelina in Miami.
The Three Kings arrived as a young singer concluded her rendition of the popular Christmas song Burrito Sabanero composed by Venezuelan Hugo Blanco.
Among the children who waited to have their picture taken with the Three Kings was Camila Peguero, a 5-year-old Puerto Rican girl.
When Camila stood next to the Three Kings, she posed as if she was a mini model.
If you go
What: 45th Annual Three Kings Day Parade
When: Sunday, Jan. 11 at 12 p.m.
Where: The Parade route runs along 8th Street between 4th and 17th avenues