12/27/06 — Three Kings Festival January 6

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Three Kings Festival January 6

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on December 27, 2006 1:48 PM

The Hispanic Community Development Center will hold its third annual Three Kings Festival, or Dia De Los Tres Reyes Mago, on Jan. 6from noon to 3 p.m. in the Waynesborough Historical Village.

Jan. 6 is Old Christmas, or Epiphany, which means a realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. In Christianity, the Epiphany is a feast commemorating the revelation of Jesus to humanity and, specifically, the visit of the three wise men.

Festival organizer Ana Cruz said the Three Kings Day is the end of the Christmas holiday by Hispanic and European tradition.

"This is the day that the kings arrived with the gifts to baby Jesus. So it's the kings that bring the gifts, not Santa," she said. "We use Waynesborough because of the buildings there."

The layout of the village, which is located at 801 U.S. 117 South, is ideal for the procession of Mary and Joseph going from building to building seeking a place to sleep, she said.

"By our tradition, we sing as we go to each house. This is called the Paseo. There are Christmas carols, some in English and some in Spanish," Mrs. Cruz said.

The Hispanic Community Development Center usually has a church choir and some three-string guitar players for the music, she said.

"We get people from the audience who are willing to participate and be the home owners who turn Mary and Joseph away," Mrs. Cruz said. "The precession gets larger."

As the group leaves each home, those volunteers who turned away Mary and Joseph join the procession, which ends at the manger where the group finds Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

This is when the three kings make their entrance.

"I keep this traditional, with one black, one white and one oriental king. They kneel to the baby, and more songs are sung," Mrs. Cruz said.

Then the kings pass out gifts to the children.

Mrs. Cruz said the Hispanic Community Development Center volunteers collect toys all year long for the event. Some parents bring toys for the kings to give to their children, and they take pictures of their child with the king who gives the present.

After the processional and the visit by the three kings, a band starts playing, and Hispanic dancers from several different countries begin performing.

"We have games for the kids and, of course, the piñatas" Mrs. Cruz said. "Some of the stuff is free. And then the major items are the vendors."

The Hispanic Community Development Center is accepting donations of gifts and unopened toys for the event through Jan. 5. For information, call Willie Cartagena at 738-0604 or Tammy Cartagena at 222-2650.