The twelve days of Christmas that cover the period of the birth of Jesus Christ, adopted by the Christian Church as being on December 25th and running to January 6th, is better known to Latino families, as Three Kings Day, which honors the three “wise men” who visited Jesus Christ.
The Feast of Epiphany is celebrated on this day the wise men or “Magi” who were adored and called “The Manifestion of God.” But Eastern churches also recognize this day as the actual birth of Christ.
Despite the collision of tradition and alternate belief systems, all usually unite at some point. In Baveria and Austria, the Star Singers representing the travel of the Three Kings performs. Kids dress up, hold stars and get candy in others.
In other households prayers are done, dry herbs are burnt with their smell filling the home while the doorways are sprinkled with Holy Water. One of the older traditions is the day the Christmas trees are thrown out and burned at 6pm. But all are in agreement that it was the birthday period of Jesus which opens the narrative and the story of the “Magi” which closes it.
It basically boils down to Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, the three wise men honored on the 6th via legend as the day they saw the bright star on Jesus birthday and followed it to Bethlehem where they found the Christ, as a child, and presented the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.