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Día de los Reyes and Disney dollars

Photo by Getty Images

If there’s an attack on Christmas, it’s not coming from the secularists, but from the commercialists:

“Los Tres Reyes Magos is going to Disneyland.

The California theme park is going all out for the Christian holiday celebrated by Latinos in the U.S. and Latin America.

The holiday — also known as Twelfth Night or Feast of the Epiphany — takes place Jan. 6, ending the 12 days of Christmas. Many Hispanic communities in the U.S. celebrate Three Kings Day with parades and performances depicting the Biblical story of three kings following a star to find the baby Jesus, bringing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. …

The park will host Three Kings Day on Jan. 4 to 6 at the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Disneyland’s Frontierland. There will be Mexican folklorico dancing, mariachi musicians, photo ops with Disney characters and bilingual hosts offering face painting, crown making and other children’s activities. Food carts will serve sweet corn tamales, chimichangas, Mexican hot chocolate and king cake, which is a round, sweet, doughy cake called rosca de reyes (king’s ring).

‘I love the fact that Disney is doing this,’ said Evette Rios, a correspondent with ABC’s ‘The Chew,’ who grew up celebrating Three Kings Day with her Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, N.Y. ‘It means a lot. This is the changing face of America. We are becoming more open to different holidays and traditions. I don’t have a homogenous view of what America is and I’m glad Disney doesn’t either.’ “

Is there anything not for sale in this country? Is nothing sacred?

As Americans, Latinos share a deep respect for the separation of church and state. But shouldn’t Christian Latinos also demand a separation of church and the free market? Heck, I’m an atheist, but even I know enough of the Good Book and J.C. to know it’s wrong to commercialize faith and religious observance.

It’s ironic enough that the birthday of Jesus — the man who famously condemned rich men and money-changers — has become the biggest money-changing holiday of the whole God-forsaken year. Jesus is also the same Son of Man who urged his followers not worry about what they will eat or what they will wear, so I’d venture to believe he wouldn’t want them worrying about where they’re going to celebrate Día de los Reyes.

And about Disney’s plans as a sign of America being “more open to different holidays and traditions,” slow down. As Disneyland spokeswoman Michele Himmelberg said herself, Disney merely “launched the Three Kings Day celebration last year as a test. It was a big success, particularly with the Hispanic community, and we’re expanding it this year to a larger area.”

Translation: Disney did a little research and discovered they could make big bucks in January off an age-old religious tradition. How inclusive of you, Mr. Mouse.

As yet, Disney has no plans for an Eid al-Fitr celebration for the Muslim holiday next year. I guess the company’s inclusiveness has its limits.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Sorry but most, not all, holidays (yes “holy-days) we celebrate are just that. I applaude Disney.

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