RANTOUL — This weekend the Latino community continued the celebration with Three Kings Day.
Joyce Mireles has been coming to the Cultivadores Mission Center for three months. Today she brought her kids here to teach them a special lesson.
“I came to celebrate the three kings with my kids and the church. For my kids to learn more about the three kings.”
Most people know the story. The three kings – or three wise men – saw a bright star in the sky the night Christ was born. They followed it and gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
“Everybody in the Latino community celebrates this. Americans celebrate Christmas on the 25th but we celebrate until January 6th.”
The center hosted their tenth Dia de Reyes celebration. In many Spanish-speaking countries, kids get presents on this day instead of on Christmas. To keep the tradition going, the center gave out up to 100 gifts to underprivileged Latino children.
“There are a lot of people in this community who don’t have so much to give. And you know the opportunity to give to those who can’t, it’s an awesome opportunity because you’re helping each other. It’s helping each other.”
Families signed up at the church months in advance to get their gifts, and community members picked up names with suggestions for presents at churches in the area. Today, the three kings came out to give those kids their toys.
“I just love the faces of the kids… It just warms my heart every time a kid gets a bag and opens a gift and says whoa this is so cool.”
“I’m kind of like happy for me to see the three kings today because I never got to see them.”
When the presents are unwrapped, the kids get a lesson and a day they’ll never forget.
“It’s been so awesome because we get to spend time with them and give them something to remember.”
Last year was one of the biggest celebrations they ever had. They helped 100 families and gave out about three hundred presents.