Dia de Reyes - Bolivia Celebrates Day of the Three Wise Men
(Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia)
Every year on January 6th children are the center of attention as Bolivia celebrates the Day of the Three Kings, or Three Wise Men, who traveled to Bethlehem to visit the infant Jesus. Until the 1950's or so it wasn't customary for Bolivians to give each other gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Instead, gifts are given to children on Dia de Reyes to recall the gifts brought by the Wise Men.
Events are planned for children by their families and friends while numerous private and public institutions organize others such as visits by clowns, musical venues, and more. This year, for example, the municipal government will deliver toys donated by city employees to children at public hospitals. Other institutions organize festivities at orphanages or deliver gifts to children in outlying poor neighborhoods. Many of these events are accompanied by the traditional "chocolatadas". Children are served hot chocolate and cake or cookies as they celebrate.
Many families don't take down their Christmas decorations, and especially not their manger scenes (known as "nacimientos") until after January 6th for this reason. Click here to read more about Bolivian Christmas Traditions