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  5. "Los reyes magos traen regalo…

"Los reyes magos traen regalos en enero."

Translation:The Three Kings bring presents in January.

December 18, 2013



There's a lot of discussion about the translation here (and deservedly so), but it might also interest some to note the cultural aspect of this sentence.

In many Latinamerican countries (including Mexico) the three wise men "los reyes magos" basically have their own sub-holiday on the 6th of January. So you can see that they're traditionally more celebrated there than here (or at least my "here" in the Southern U.S.").

In some countries children might receive more gifts on this holiday or there might be a feast associated with it. Most of my adopted knowledge comes from Mexico, where it is common to make or buy a "Rosca de Reyes" (type of cake) and eat it the night before.

Anyone else from somewhere that tends to treat the "Reyes Magos" in a more festive manner?


In Germany, the 6th of January (Dreikönigstag or Heilige Drei Könige) is a holiday. Winter school break extends at last to this day, and many offices are closed from Heiligabend until this day as well. It is not much celebrated, although there is also the custom of the "Dreikönigskuchen", a cake where a small trinket is baked in, and the one who finds it in his slice of cake is crowned the king of the day.


Sounds extremely similar to a custom associated with Mardi Gras in Louisiana. There (where I am from) the cake is called a King Cake and it is customary to bake a small (very small) plastic baby into it. Similarly to how you described, he who gets the slice containing the baby can either win a prize or perhaps be in charge of making the next cake, which is not much of a prize for those of us (me) who are less than great cooks!


My parents were from Montréal and moved to California. They could not get over the American custom of picking up the whole Christmas trees by the trash company on the day after Christmas. I still keep my tree at least until after January 6th even if it means I have to chop up the tree myself to put it in the Green recycle bin. Of course, we cannot put our Christmas tree up as early as many Americans do for Thanksgiving. We also celebrate with a cake which has a prize baked in, but there are two items to crown a king and a queen. It is what they were doing in Quebec. I have a son and a daughter so that worked out perfectly. I think if I had had three children, I would have changed the custom again to have three "kings". After all, it is the THREE wise men or kings.


Hola Allin, I live in Quebec, where this tradition is still alive and well. There are special traditional songs for Jan. 6 and the parties have fiddle / accordion music with square dancing. The cake and the two little figures indicat who are the King and Queen of the dance, and they walk around the hall with all their subjects trailing them, until the dancing starts, always with live music. What fun!


In Armenia we don't celebrate Christmas because nobody is really sure of when the exact date was even at the start of Christianity. So we decided to celebrate the visit by los reyes magos as an equivalent to Christmas and continue to do so even today. And because "Armenian Christmas" is in January we essentially do nothing on December 25 when all Western Christians celebrate their Christmas.


In my corner of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, there are TWO traditions of January 6th.

In many English-speaking communities, it's called "Old Christmas Day" because Christmas fell on that date in the old liturgical calendar. Children hang their stocking a second time and get silly little gifts and sweets in them.

In northern Labrador, where there is a totally unique combination of German Moravian missions and Inuit traditional culture, there is "Nalajuks Night" on January 6th! Sort of like The Three Wise Men meet Krampus! :)

From a website in Labrador:

"Around seven o'clock in the evening, all the kids lurk about and play outside in anticipation on the arrival of the Nalajuks. Three Nalajuks (like the Three Wisemen) are seen coming from the Hebron end of town shortly after seven in the evening. They are escorted by a driver who tows them through the community while they sit on the komatik. The Nalajuks, always Inuit men in the community, are dressed in heavy clothing (usually a caribou or seal fur tied around them). They are also disguised and thus wear hand made face masks or ski-masks. They carry with them a bag of goods as well as long sticks.

The Nalajuks make their way through the community usually to households of Inuit residents only. Children from the community closely follow the Nalajuks although they keep a safe distance from them because at any moment the Nalajuks might jump off of the komatik and run after the children. When this happens the kids automatically fan out, run, laugh, scream and head in the opposite direction. If caught, a child must sing a song, any song, to the Nalajuk, otherwise they may get hit with the stick. The Nalajuks go into the household and bring gifts to the children. For these children, they do not hang their stockings the night before because the Nalajuks bring them something in person.

While the Nalajuks are inside of the house, the children in the meantime continue playing and lurking outside the door. While some try and peep through the windows, at least one brave soul stand on the doorstep to let everyone know when the Nalajuks are about to come out. Once they do, the children fan out once again because once the Nalajuks come out of a house, they are sure to run after the kids again, especially if the next house they have to visit is in close proximity to the one just left.

Over all, this activity usually lasts for about three hours. The last household the Nalajuks enter, they do not leave. After about a half an hour later, children usually disperse and head home because they know the activity is over. Sadly enough, they also that this is also the signal that Christmas is truly over for this year.

By the time they get home, they know that all the Christmas lights will be turned off, all the decorations will be taken down, and all the once beautiful Christmas tree will be thrown out by the front door, abandoned, except for a few icicles still attached to a few branches. Furniture will be put back to its normal place and Christmas gifts will be put away.

Nalajuk night differs from community to community along the North Coast. Largely an Inuit tradition, the activity takes place only in the communities of Nain, Hopedale and Makkovik. In Hopedale, the activity is quite similar to that of Makkovik with one exception -- the event may last longer since there is a larger native population in Hopedale than there is in Makkovik. It should also be noted here that throughout Christmas, and usually closer to January 6th, if children are misbehaving, a common threat would be "Be good, or else the old Nalajuks are gonna get you" or, "If you don't be good, I'm gonna get the old Nalajuks to come and take you away."



Great story. Well worth a lingot. Thank you for sharing.


I've heard of Three Kings Day referred to as the 3rd in a Trinity for celebrating Christmas in the Latin community. Dec 12 = Lady of Guadalupe, Dec 25 = Christmas, Jan 6 = Three Kings. It was also referred to as a marathon for those who participate in the 9 day novenas Dec 3-12 and Dec 16-24.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_Mexico "Christmas in Mexico is celebrated during a season that begins in early December to January 6th, with one other related event on February 2. During this entire time, one can see nativity scenes, poinsettias and even Christmas trees. The season begins with celebrations related to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patroness of Mexico, followed by traditions such as Las Posadas, pastorelas, a mass and feast on Christmas Eve, the arrival of the Three Wise Men on January 6 ending with Candlemas and the presentation of Child Jesus images at churches."


Very big in here in Catalonia. Apparently (from general word of mouth) Christmas Eve/Day wasn't much of a gift giving time in the past, it was always The Kings. Now, as globalisation has more and more of an effect, December 25th is growing in popularity here, but it depends on the family a bit which they celebrate more.



Yep, here in New Orleans it's Twelfth Night, aka King Cake Day or Three Kings' Day.


This is actually Christian liturgical tradition more than cultural. Most of American life is either so low-church Protestant or secular that the distinction between Epiphany (January 6, celebrating the Wise Men) and Christmas (Nativity, Shepherds, etc.) gets lost.


Just one more reason I love Duolingo and the discussions. I have never heard of The Three Wise Men having their own holiday or celebration. You learn something every day I guess!

I think it's fairly interesting that all the countries that celebrate it do it on January 6. Does anyone know why this is?


The famous "Twelve Days of Christmas" in the eponymous song are the days between Dec. 25 and January 6, when the three kings show up.


Thank you! I've wondered what the Twelve Days of Christmas were for so long.


Because the church said so? Every saint has his/ her own day in the Catholic calendar, and that of the three wise men was (probably arbitrarily) assigned to January 6th.


This is mostly done in mexico, they have no Santa Clause figures for beliefs for the children. They believe only for the 3 wise men.


Oh didn't even think about that. It seemed more of a cultural thing than religious.


It's called Epiphany, and I'm not sure where the 12 days came from exactly. I know that January 1 is called "Holy Name" because it would be the day where Jesus would have been circumcised and officially received his name. I'll ask around about the January 6th date, though.


I found the reason for December 25 and January 6 (this isn't my answer, I asked my professor about it),

"The short version of the answer is that in the ancient world, great figures were thought always to die on the same calendar date as their conception. There were two calendars in use among Jews at the time of Jesus' Passion... If we "convert" calendars, the primary one would have Jesus die on 6 April. The other would have been 25 March. If He was conceived on the date He died, just count nine months and we land on 6 January (or 25 December)."


None of the words in "Los reyes magos" mean three. Are they not known as 3 wise men in spanish?


"The three wise men" is an accepted translation. Not sure whether a "3" would work instead, though.


Could "magos" also translate to "Magi"? I've heard them called the Three Kings, the Three Wise Men, and the Three Magi.


The Three Magi is accepted -- I just used it. :-)


What does the word "magos" mean by its self?


Magicians, wizards, magi, wise men, conjurors.


One thing though... We don't know how many wise men visited Jesus. At all.


It did not accept "The Magi Kings bring gifts in January"


Why wasn't "wise kings" accepted?


It seems like the translation "the Magi Kings" should work because that is a direct translation


No controlo cuando usar in or on . resulta que the three king bring gifts IN january y the couple exchanges gifts ON Christmas. pensaba que en lo referente a fechas se empleaba siembre ON.


en se usa cuando nos referimos al día.Un mes tiene muchos días. Si utilizamos una fecha específica, usaríamos en (respondió con la ayuda de Google translate :) )


Why am I not able to say The three wise kings instead of The three wise men. That should be accepted.


It would be technically correct, but not what I would consider to be normal usage in English - either three Kings or three Wise Men, but I've never heard a mixture of the two.


On January vs. In January. Why aren't both acceptable?


Because you never use "on" with months in English (only with days). Don't get confused by phrases like "on January First", it doesn't mean the month of January, it means "on the first of January" which is a day.


"The 3 kings bring gifts in January" is marked incorrect by Duo. Spell out the number 'three' to get marked 'correct'.


Yeah, typically duo only accepts digits in a translation if they were also digits in the prompt. It's mildly annoying, but not totally unreasonable, I think.


should the three kings bring presents on january be correct as well? cause it doesnt work and i think its a logical translation


"On January" doesn't make sense in English. You only use "on" for specific dates: on christmas, on Tuesday, on the 3rd, etc. For months and years you use "in," sort of like using "during."


Magos is more "wise" or "magic" than it is "three." Just sayin.'


How about the literal wizard kings?


Wow! I'm British and spent months in Latin America, including the Christmas season, and I've never heard of Reyes Magos! Here in Bulgaria, where i live, Christmas was banned under Communism and Santa was replaced by Grandpa Mras, who brought gifts at New Year! Christmas is making a slow comeback now, though it's as devoid of anything Jesus-like as it is in the West


I had "the three wise kings" but duolingo said i was wrong and it should be "three wise men". Why is "kings" incorrect when we have the word "reyes?" thanks in advance.


We call them the three wise men or the three kings, and Spanish apparently calls them los reyes magos. They're just set names for people in the bible


i am american and i live in costa rica ive been here for a whole year and 2 days but i have never ever hear of that, most likely because here it is a little bit different Spanish ! costariccense yo habla tica !!


Sometimes Christmas is in janruary.


DL says that you can say on january so that's what i did but DL marked it wrong


But who are actually the three kings? is there a story behind this?


@BenYoung84 : Thanks


Happu belated birthday Jesus!


It's a bit frustrating because this isn't a translation barrier it's a cultural difference. This translation assumes the person is aware there were 3 people and nothing in the phrase indicates "3."

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