Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three Kings Day celebrated by hundreds in Wimauma

WIMAUMA — Moments before walking onstage, one of the three kings got the jitters.

Josue Peraza, 13, fidgeted with his crown and tugged at his robe. One of his friends noticed.

"You can do this," Leslie Lerma, 12, told him. "You're not doing this for them, you're doing it for God, so you shouldn't be nervous."

The performance — a re-enactment of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus' first meeting with the three wise men — earned a round of applause from an audience packed with parents.

About 300 people gathered Saturday at Iglesia De Dios Elim in Wimauma for Dia de Los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day, a traditional Latin American Epiphany celebration.

Typically held on Jan. 6, the 12th day of Christmas, the celebration marks the time it took for the three kings to arrive at the birth site of Jesus. The day is geared toward children, with the three kings delivering presents to them just like they did to Jesus.

It's a tradition that older generations are fighting to hold on to.

"The more and more that families go into mainstream life, the more Three Kings Day gets set aside," said Domingo Noriega, a volunteer with the Florida Institute for Community Studies, which helped organize the event.

"Santa Claus is up here," Noriega said, holding his hand above his head, "and the three kings are losing."

The event brings together families from several churches in the Ruskin and Wimauma area. Those in attendance watched skits, sang songs and played games. The children, many from low-income families, received bags of donated gifts from three kings Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar.

Toys, shoes and books were collected by the Ronald McDonald House. Support also came from Metropolitan Ministries, Independent Bar and Cafe in Seminole Heights and Garcia's Bakery in Wimauma, which provided the traditional Rosca bread. Members of the University of South Florida chapter of Lambda Upsilon Lambda, a Latin fraternity, volunteered their time.

Aracely Sanchez of Ruskin came to the event with her 10-year-old daughter. She said she has noticed that for some families, the tradition of Three Kings Day seems to be slipping away.

"Santa Claus is a big part of childhood, but children also need to know the story of Jesus and the three kings," she said. "A lot of people focus more on Christmas than they do on this day."

Frances Garcia of Wimauma brought her nieces and nephews to the event. The story of the three kings offers a useful life lesson for children, she said.

"We're trying to seek Jesus just like the three kings were," she said. "We just have to follow them."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2442.

Three Kings Day celebrated by hundreds in Wimauma 01/05/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 5, 2013 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  2. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  3. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  4. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  5. Mayor: Men stabbed after anti-Muslin rant died as 'heroes' (w/video)

    Nation

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train.

    A sign of thanks rests against a traffic light pole at a memorial outside the transit center on Saturday in Portland, Ore. [Associated Press]