Royalty Arrives in El Barrio

6 Jan

 The bitter cold of early January gave way to unusually warm weather just in time for 35th annual 3 Kings Parade in El Barrio, otherwise known as Spanish Harlem. One could feel the excitement of the crowd on 106th between Park Ave. and Lexington Ave. as many of the marchers were getting ready to kick off the parade. The tradition of the 3 Kings celebration refers to the day when the miracle of the Magi occurred. Three wise men from the East followed a star to locate the baby Jesus and present Him with gifts and from then the Epiphany has been a special day especially among the Spanish community where gifts are given to the children.


      Kicking off the parade were the parade sponsors, El Museo del Barrio with their honorary guests and elected officials and the crowd pleasing giant puppets representing the 3 Kings. Every year the sponsors selected three influential people to be represented as the Honorary Kings and this years’ selection honored the contributions to music and literature. Famed musician and pioneer Johnny Colon, and authors Nicholasa Mohr and Esmeralda Santiago waved to the enthusiastic crowd as the festive parade was starting its way up 3rd Ave. In the mix of various local community groups marching were school children wearing crowns they made themselves. Keeping the festive parade in high gear was the Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars Latin Jazz Ensemble playing songs heard in many homes of Puerto Ricans during the holiday season. Showing off their step moves were the Greenburgh North Castle Marching Band followed by the Museo del Barrio float including an all female brass section jazz band. The much anticipated arrival of the camels and the 3 Kings pleased the crowd especially the children watching. Closing out the parade was a festive float with a parranda playing traditional holiday music. Towards the end of the parade I learned from an angelic source that many children were going to El Museo del Barrio to receive gifts from the 3 Kings. What an excellent way to kick off the years’ parade lineup with children smiling and learning to keep a tradition alive and well

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