POUGHKEEPSIE – “The Three Kings are coming. The Three Kings are coming,” exclaimed an excited little boy to his sister at the Family Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie on Saturday morning. And he was right.
Upon entering the Family Partnership Center, the children were given their own “passport” which they used to travel thru the corridors of the Partnership. Each “destination” offered information from service providers, gifts, and fun activities such as face painting and creating their very own Three Kings Crown.
Inside the Lateef Islam Auditorium, Rosana Malavar and the Peekskill Comite Latino, reenacted the Three Kings story. With great fan fare, entering from the rear of the auditorium, the Three Kings, Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar, appeared.
The three kings came on camels from the east. They were following a bright star in the sky that guided them to Bethlehem where the infant Jesus lay. (The three kings are sometimes called the Three Wise Men or the Magi, meaning priests). They brought gifts of gold, myrth and frankincense to the baby Jesus whom they worshiped as the “newborn king.”
The gold offered by one of the wise men was symbolic of Jesus’ royal standing as “King of the Jews,” while the frankincense acknowledged His divine nature, as He was the Son of God. And the myrrh was a symbol of Jesus’ mortality — foreshadowing his death as a means to cleanse humanity of its sins.
At the end of the performance, traditional Carols were sung in Spanish, as more than one hundred people in the audience joined in.
The Three Kings Day Celebration, or Celebracion del Dia de Los Reyes Magos, continued with performances by Banda La Tumbadora de Newburgh, Grupo Folklorico de Poughkeepsie, Young Spiritual Dancers, Prayer Dancers and Danza Colombiana, Huellas de Mi Tierra.
Eager children then formed a line to receive an age appropriate present from the Three Kings who were waiting in the lobby. It is a tradition that on the night of January 5th, children leave their shoes on the window ledge or doorstep in anticipation of the Three Kings’ arrival. In the morning the shoes are filled with candies, fruits and little toys.
Before leaving the Center, each person was given a Rosca de Reyes or Kings’ Bread.
Sherry Wyckoff, Regional Practice Manager with HRH Care, said that this is one of the ways the organization can collaborate and give back to the community it serves. HRH Care has organized the event for more than a dozen years.