Los Reyes Magos
Los Reyes Magos, early 20th century, carved and painted wood by Attributed to Hipolito Marte Martinez
The three Magi (Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar) followed the star of Bethlehem to visit the newborn Christ child. In Puerto Rico, Melchior is always represented with dark skin because, according to local tradition, the rays of a star burned him. Puertorriqueño children wait eagerly for the Feast of the Epiphany, which is celebrated on January 6 to commemorate the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem. They leave boxes of hay and bowls of water under their beds for the Magi’s horses. It is like a second Christmas as they await the gifts that will be given to them.