The Three Kings came and went, but not before passing through New York City to celebrate with hundreds of children that came out for the parade organized by the Museo del Barrio on January 4, an atypically sunny Friday for the month. This Christmas celebration, whose historic and religious background is quite complex (much like Christianity itself), has been a part of the Caribbean and Latin American cultural traditions for numerous centuries.
In Puerto Rico, for example, on the eve of the Three Kings’ visit, children leave grass in a shoebox for the horses of Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar, thanking them for the gifts they will receive the next day. In fact, this tradition has transformed over the years in a very creative way. As such, the kings arrive on horseback, not on camels, and are celebrated with promises [es] carved by santeros (artisans of religious images) that are a source of inspiration and joy.
Without a doubt, the Puerto Rican and Latin American communities that are alive and vibrant in the metropolis that is New York have not stopped celebrating this day with much excitement, especially the children. So much so that the streets of East Harlem were paralyzed to see the passing of the carriages, the magi on stilts, Peruvian dances, capoeira
, giant puppets and even two camels that live in a sanctuary in New Jersey.
Here we share a series of photographs taken by Puerto Rican artist Josué Guarionex that show some of the faces he managed to capture amidst all the commotion.
Jesús “Papoleto” Melendez, a poet born and raised in East Harlem, was chosen to be the emeritus king at the parade.
Dancers performing to traditional Peruvian music.
Osvaldo Gómez delighted us with his beautiful presence.
We can almost feel the energy of this band in this photo.
Hundreds of boys and girls with their paper crowns from 106th to 116th Street and Park Avenue.
Distinguished reporter, María Hinojosa, and activist, Angie Rivera, were chosen as the queens for this event.
Fátima Shama, commissioner for the New York Office of Immigrant Affairs, was chosen as one of the queens as well.
Tanya Torres, a Puerto Rican artist residing in East Harlem, was one of the godmothers at the parade, Nadema Agard, Cecilia Gastón, Christine Licata and Sandra Morales-De León.
Walking along the streets of New York with so many children is a tremendous gift.