Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Celebration of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day

This year, like last year, we celebrated the Three Kings’ Day at home (see 2012 post HERE). 

Grandpa Chickadee and I are doing the celebration in order to keep my childhood tradition of the Three Kings bringing gifts to the children alive.  Little Miss Chickadee, 5, has long known their names (in Spanish):  Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar, and almost-three-year old Master Chickadee almost has them down pat.

The three little chickadees spent the night with us (the youngest is 8 months), but guess who was up at 2:15 in the morning on her way to our room??  And this is what she saw:

DSCN6368Our Cuban tradition is to put their shoes/slippers by their beds, but we decided to tweak that a bit, since we didn’t want them to see their gifts without our being there to witness it.  Also, since Santa has brought so many gifts, the Three Kings bring just a few little things.  The idea is to celebrate the day, and to further reinforce that they brought gifts to Baby Jesus.

So she came in our room without having touched a thing, telling us that they had come, and describing perfectly what they brought for her brothers, but saying that she had seen nothing for her!  Why she said that, I don’t know.  I asked her several times, and the story was the same, so I chose to believe that maybe her sweet little mind didn’t allow the surprise to be given away.  As she snuggled in bed with us she was so calm; not giddy as we would have expected.  When she peered out the window she was sure that she could see one of the Three Kings on a camel!  We decided that they must have heard her get up and dashed outside before they could leave her gifts, and they were waiting for her to go back to sleep to come back in.  Ahhh, sweet innocence.

Our celebration this year was far simpler than last year’s.  On the menu:  Espresso hot chocolate (recipe to follow soon), punch, and cookies.

DSCN6381 As you can see, I was a bit behind in the picture taking (you do remember the little chickadees spent the night, right?  And they needed their dress clothes, of course!).  I’d say the guava pastries (pastelitos de guayaba) in the red dish—a yummy gift from a dear friend—were pretty popular!

Copy of DSCN6381

DSCN6386This year the table was a simple mix of evergreens, pinecones, and white.


DSCN5745 The Three Kings were represented by our various nativity scenes.  This one, precious to us, was given to us early in our marriage by my in-laws, who brought it back from one of their frequent trips to Mexico.  I love how simple yet intricate it is.  To its left, the mother-of-pearl one my grandmother brought back from her visit to the Holy Land in the late 70s or early 80s.  Oh, how precious that one is too!





This sweet little nativity scene surrounded a feather tree while all the Christmas decorations were out, but as we pared down to a simpler winter look in preparation for our Three Kings celebration it looked like this:

DSCN6432 DSCN6435


And last but not least, the chickadees’ own nativity scene.  This is the one they are allowed to play with (and you never know who might be added to it).  Master Chickadee added this visitor at one point:

Spiderman at the nativity scene

And when I asked Baby Love/Miss Chickadee to get the nativity scene ready for the party, this is what she lovingly prepared:


Be sure to notice the ladder…

As you can probably tell, the Three Kings celebration and the nativity scenes are very hands-on experiences for the chickadees—just as we want it to be.  In fact, at one point during our gathering Miss Chickadee took Baby Jesus out of the nativity scene and told the adults around her that “Christmas is about Baby Jesus.”  That, is exactly the goal.

Do you celebrate the Epiphany?  Have you by any chance read Yvonne’s moving re-telling of the Three Kings’ visit to the manger in her beautiful blog, StoneGable?  She tells it so beautifully that you might want to read it HERE.

These are the parties I’ll be joining to share my Three Kings Celebration.  They’re wonderful gatherings too; I hope you’ll visit.

Tuesdays at http://www.astrollthrulife.net/

Wednesdays at Let’s Dish: http://www.cuisinekathleen.com/

Wednesdays at Wow Us: http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net/

Thursdays at Tabletop Thursday: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/

Thursdays at Home Sweet Home: http://thecharmofhome.blogspot.com/

Fridays at Feathered Nest: http://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/

Sundays at The Tablescaper: http://thetablescaper.blogspot.com/

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll leave me a comment to let me know you were here—I read every single one of them! And if you like what you see a lot, maybe you’d like to +1 this post or pin it on Pinterest too! Thank you!

I invite you to follow me. If you’ll let me know that you’re following, I’ll be sure to follow you back.

From my nest to yours, ~Zuni


  1. So glad I stopped by my "neighbour from TTT"!What a meaningful and special celebration of Epiphany you give your little chickadees! Love the "hands on" approach you allow to one of your nativity sets and what they "created"! We celebrated Epiphany last evening at our church with a potluck and bonfire where we burn "discarded" Christmas trees . The large flames symbolize "the star" and "Jesus as the light of the world".

  2. Zuni - I adore this tradition and I know your grandchildren will always carry these memories with them. Your Nativity pieces are beautiful and your display of them is lovely. I, too, have one that I brought back from Mexico in 1986. It is very tiny, but my grandchildren love moving the little figures around every year. Don't you just love Christmas???

  3. Zuni, What a beautiful tradition for your family to celebrate! Thank you so much for adding my post as part of your story of Jesus and the Three Kings.

  4. Zuni, your nativity sets and traditions are wonderful. I completely agree with keeping the manger approachable: http://myplacetoyours.blogspot.com/2012/12/jesus-as-super-hero-kids-and-nativity.html Your little one's preparation for Jesus is precious!

  5. What a beautiful tradition.
    xo bj

  6. It's wonderful that you uphold your Hispanic traditions, Zuni. You have some lovely nativity sets and having one for the grandchildren is perfect. Love the rhino climbing up the ladder! We never did anything for the Epiphany. I actually have never heard of presents being given on this day. Were we bad Catholics? :-)

    1. No, Sue, we never did presents either, but the decorations always stayed up till that day...

  7. Your nativities are beautiful! We don't celebrate Epiphany, but it was always the day we started to put away Cmas till next year. I am still working on that! :)

  8. I do see the rhino on the ladder, so cute of her to place it there but the ladder might not be strong enough. Thanks for sharing your traditions and your lovely nativity sets.

  9. What a beautiful celebration, Zuni! I love all your nativity sets. I have to agree with others who have said, what a great idea to have one that is touchable for the kids.

  10. How wonderful for the children to know and realize what epiphany is all about. We do celebrate. It is Ukrainian Christmas, they celebrate with gifts because that is when the gifts came to sweet Jesus. So we too have a celebration on that day. I love your nativity sets, and I can't pick a favorite at all, they are all wonderful. xo marlis

  11. It is so nice that you are continuing your tradition with the grandchildren.
    We celebrate...it is the birthday of my husband and his identical twin!

  12. Awwwwwwww....so pretty, so sweet, so meaningful for everyone!!! And yes...I DID notice the ladder right away! So funny!!!!!!! Kids can do such cute things!

  13. Que rico y bello se ve todo!! I did my Three Kings Table too, to honor the tradition in Latin America and I do mention Cuba, specially. The ladder is so cute, hehehe...I love grandkids, so I am not close like other years, to make their King's tradition too! I'm so happy you could do it for yours.Happy epiphanie and a very blessed 2013 for you and yours dear Zuni.

  14. I love all your nativities, but the one with Spiderman is just so adorable. Being a chickadee lover, you will like the table I am working on now! Dianne

  15. I've always thought the tradition of Three Kings Day was very special. My family never celebrated it, but I have a friend from a culture that did. She would share her stories of the tradition. Glad the chickadees were there to celebrate with you. ;-)

  16. Zuni, what a wonderful celebration!!! We do the same with our children since Santa brings toys, so just a few small things for Three Kings Day. Luis finds it very difficult here as no one around us celebrates, but the children always look forward to it and I really want to make sure that he feels connected to his family and traditions. Thanks for sharing those beautiful nativities too:-)

  17. What a wonderful tradition for your sweet little chickadees Zuni! I love your beautiful nativity sets~ my parents brought me back one from Mexico many years ago that is similar but not as detailed as the one from your in-laws.

  18. What a wonderful tradition. Your table and nativity sets are beautiful. Thanks for sharing these beauties with us. hugs ~lynne~

  19. We also celebrate Epiphany but I have now taken several lovely pointers from you for the future.


  20. Beautiful table with your prized nativity sets. It's a beautiful tradition. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post.

  21. We don't celebrate Three Kings day, but I think it would be marvelous to once again to cement the true reason of Christmas, and my kids would love it that they receive more gifts :). Love your nativities, and the one with all the cute animals arrranged aroudn the baby Jesus by your little one! Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Joni

  22. Oh, Zuni! How utterly charming! I miss having little ones around for Three Kings Day. My sons are not married yet, so it'll be a while before I get grandchildren. I do have a great-nephew, Oliver, that is now about 9 months old. He's the first baby of the next generation in our family. It looks like you and I have the same Fontanini Nativity set, and I remember the boys getting very creative with it, too. I wanted to make pastelitos de guayaba but ALL our grocery stores were out of puff pastry! Next year, I'll stock up early and keep it in the freezer. But we had enough food anyway. Your mother-of-pearl Nativity scene from the Holy Land is stunning! And the fact that you inherited it from your mother-in-law makes it extra special. I, too, start simplifying the decorations and make them more about Jesus, angels and stars for Three Kings Day. The Santas and Jingle Bells are put away. It's a softer, gentler look, perfect to receive the baby Jesus. It IS a lot of fun celebrating this special day in blogland!

  23. Hi, Great post. I found you through the blog hop. Now following you.Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance.
    Be sure and check out my new Blog Hop that we just started, It's Weekly Goals Link Up. It's a great way to stay on track. Have a great day. :) Here's the link in case you want to check it out. Thanks again.http://lenettacarnes.blogspot.com/2013/01/weekly-goals-linkup-html

  24. Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!


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