LATINO VOICES

Disney's Three Kings Day Celebration, Expansion Highlights Importance Of Hispanic Heritage

And on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: twelve ‘Mariachi Divas’, six Rosca de Reyes, three wise men, and an expanded Three Kings Day celebration at Disneyland.

Or at least this, and more, is what Disney plans to offer guests at their theme park in Anaheim, California to celebrate Día de los Reyes or (Three Kings Day), widely observed in Latin America on Jan. 6, according to the Associated Press.

The park “launched the Three Kings Day celebration last year as a test” in January 2012, promising results prompted a large-scale event to mark the last day of Christmas next month. (Check out a video of last year’s event below)

“It was a big success, particularly with the Hispanic community, and we're expanding it this year to a larger area," Michele Himmelberg, spokeswoman of Disneyland, told the Associated Press.

Also known as the “Feast of the Epiphany” or “The Adoration of the Magi,” the holiday marks the night in which the Bible says three Kings (also called Wise Men or Magi) followed the North Star to Bethlehem, where they found a newborn baby Jesus to whom they offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Disneyland’s “Reyes” celebration will allow guests to decorate their own paper crowns as well as enjoy performances by Grammy award-winning ‘Mariachi Divas’ and the Ballet Folklorico Dancers. The event will also have the traditional sweet treat Rosca de Reyes (Kings’ Bread) and Hispanic dishes such as sweet corn tamales with pineapple and cajeta (caramel sauce) and buñuelos (Cheese fritters).

This year the theme park’s three-day celebration, beginning Jan. 4, will be housed at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Frontierland. Many consider the event’s expansion an indication of the importance of Hispanic heritage in the United States.

"I love the fact that Disney is doing this," Puerto Rican Evette Rios, a correspondent with ABC's "The Chew" who grew up celebrating Three Kings Day, told the Associated Press. "It means a lot. This is the changing face of America. We are becoming more open to different holidays and traditions. I don't have a homogenous view of what America is and I'm glad Disney doesn't either."

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • 1 Mexico City, Mexico
    People are seen near a Christmas tree and buildings around the Zócalo as part of Christmas celebrations in Mexico City
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    People are seen near a Christmas tree and buildings around the Zócalo as part of Christmas celebrations in Mexico City, Mexico, on December 22, 2016.
  • 2 São Paulo, Brazil
    An illuminated bus drives along the streets of the old center of São Paulo on December 21, 2016.
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    An illuminated bus drives along the streets of the old center of São Paulo on December 21, 2016.
  • 3 Medellín, Colombia
    A woman looks at a Christmas light display in Medellín, Colombia, on December 16, 2016.
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    A woman looks at a Christmas light display in Medellín, Colombia, on December 16, 2016.
  • 4 Machala, Ecuador
    People pose in front of an illuminated Christmas tree in a park in Machala, Ecuador, on December 14, 2016.
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    People pose in front of an illuminated Christmas tree in a park in Machala, Ecuador, on December 14, 2016.
  • 5 Guadalajara, Mexico
    People enjoy a Christmas light display in Guadalajara, Mexico, on December 12, 2016.
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    People enjoy a Christmas light display in Guadalajara, Mexico, on December 12, 2016.
  • 6 Remedios, Cuba
    Cubans celebrate Las Parrandas de Remedios on December 24, 2015.
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    Cubans celebrate Las Parrandas de Remedios on December 24, 2015.
  • 7 Bogotá, Colombia
    People walk along a park that has been illuminated for Christmas in Bogotá on December 17, 2015.
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    People walk along a park that has been illuminated for Christmas in Bogotá on December 17, 2015.
  • 8 Managua, Nicaragua
    A colorful Christmas tree stands in Managua, Nicaragua, December 14, 2015.
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    A colorful Christmas tree stands in Managua, Nicaragua, December 14, 2015.
  • 9 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Fireworks explode around Rio's Christmas tree during its lighting ceremony at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Br
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    Fireworks explode around Rio's Christmas tree during its lighting ceremony at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 12, 2015.
  • 10 Lima, Peru
    Christmas decorations are seen in front of the Cathedral of Lima on December 7, 2015.
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    Christmas decorations are seen in front of the Cathedral of Lima on December 7, 2015.
  • 11 Guatemala City, Guatemala
    Fireworks light up the sky at the unveiling ceremony for a Christmas tree in Guatemala City on November 14, 2015.
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    Fireworks light up the sky at the unveiling ceremony for a Christmas tree in Guatemala City on November 14, 2015.
  • 12 San Salvador, El Salvador
    Passers-by walk next to a Christmas tree in front of the National Palace at the historic center of San Salvador on December 1
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    Passers-by walk next to a Christmas tree in front of the National Palace at the historic center of San Salvador on December 18, 2014.
  • 13 Asunción, Paraguay
    An eco-friendly Christmas tree is set up in front of the presidential palace in Asunción on December 22, 2013.
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    An eco-friendly Christmas tree is set up in front of the presidential palace in Asunción on December 22, 2013.
  • 14 La Paz, Bolvia
    People enjoy the eco-friendly Christmas tree set-up at the Basilica of San Francisco in La Paz on December 18, 2013.
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    People enjoy the eco-friendly Christmas tree set-up at the Basilica of San Francisco in La Paz on December 18, 2013.
  • 15 San José, Costa Rica
    People watch fireworks explode around the Children's Museum in San José on December 5, 2012.
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    People watch fireworks explode around the Children's Museum in San José on December 5, 2012.
  • 16 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
    Christmas decorations are seen in Santo Domingo on December 20, 2011.
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    Christmas decorations are seen in Santo Domingo on December 20, 2011.
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