Three Kings Day, or Epiphany or El Dia de los Reyes, is one of the most important holidays on the Puerto Rican calendar. Traditionally, the island – and most of the Latin world – marked the eve of Jan. 6 as the time to exchange presents rather than Dec. 25, and children would gather grass, hay or straw in shoe boxes for the Magi’s horses or camels. Today, children typically get their main presents on Christmas Day but gifts are always reserved for Epiphany, too. Three Kings Day is a time for family gatherings and parties with a spiritual focus.
In Loíza, families gathered in the afternoon at María de la Cruz historical park to enjoy food and entertainment on a sunny January day. Community leaders handed out gifts to the children. The crowd was entertained by bomba musicians, singers and dancers, who wore bright-white clothing and colorful scarves as they swirled and twirled their long skirts and moved their shoulders and feet rhythmically to the beating of the drums. Bomba is native to Puerto Rico, and is believed to have its roots in Loíza.