FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG HOSTS RECEPTION IN HONOR OF THREE KINGS DAY
Celebration in Honor of the Epiphany
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted a reception at Gracie Mansion to celebrate La Fiesta De Los Tres Reyes Magos. Three Kings Day or the Epiphany marks the day when three wise men, Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar journeying from afar and guided by a radiant star, brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Today, this holiday is celebrated in the Caribbean, Latin America, and parts of Europe. Here in New York City, El Museo del Barrio holds a festive parade that pays homage to the legend of the Three Kings. Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6 and also marks renewed commitment to hope and kindness for the New Year. Joining the Mayor at the reception were Deputy Mayor Carol Robles Roman, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares, President of Hostos Community College Dolores Fernandez and El Museo del Barrio Executive Director Julian Zugazagoitia.
"El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos is a magnificent tribute to a historical and spiritual journey that celebrated life and promise," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The hope for change and for greater things to come is what brings so many people across the globe right here to our City and together there is no better way to commence a new year."
Although the Western Christian Church observes December 25th as Christ's birthday, the Eastern Christian Church recognizes January 6th as the celebration of the nativity. Families who celebrate Three Kings Day instruct their children that if they are good, the three kings will bring gifts overnight. The Latino community continues to celebrate their traditional holiday, as well as Christmas.
Mayor Bloomberg will march alongside more than 2,000 school children from across the City and this year's parade. The Three Kings will be portrayed by Jesús "Papoleto" Meléndez, a recipient of a 2001 Fellowship in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and one of the pioneers of the Nuyorican poets' movement, Guillermo Linares, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and the first Dominican-born elected official in the United States, and Juan Cáceres, founder of CECOMEX, a Mexican community-based organization that began organizing Cinco de Mayo and Independence Day festivals in 1996. As in past years live animals, lively music and large colorful puppets representing the Three Kings will also be part of the parade.
El Museo del Barrio organizes the parade and is New York's leading Latino cultural institution, representing the diversity of art and culture in the Caribbean and Latin America. As the only museum in New York City that specializes in representing these cultures, El Museo del Barrio continues to have a significant impact on the cultural life of New York City and is a major stop on Manhattan's Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. El Museo del Barrio was founded in 1969 by a group of Puerto Rican educators, artists, parents and community activists in East Harlem's Spanish-speaking El Barrio neighborhood.
Edward Skyler / Silvia Alvarez (212) 788-2958