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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

The Three Wise Men arrive early at Petaca Iguina in Arecibo

The Three Kings handed out some 2,300 educational and recreational gifts on Thursday in Arecibo.

By The Star Staff

The faces of the boys and girls who showed up Thursday at Petaca Iguina Coliseum in Arecibo said it all: the Three Wise Men have arrived and they brought us gifts.

From early in the morning, the municipal task force was ready to celebrate the beloved tradition of the Three Wise Men, or Tres Reyes (Three Kings). Mayor Carlos “Tito” Ramírez Irizarry said “it has been a success to celebrate this Puerto Rican tradition with the families of our city.”

In the distribution of gifts, which was done in drive-through fashion, parents and grandparents who brought the children expressed gratitude for the event, as well as the organization and logistics. For the initiative, 2,300 gifts obtained via public bidding were made available, where the main criterion was the educational and recreational value of the gifts.

“They were specifically separated for the years 0 to 3, 4 to 8 and 9 to 15, such as dolls, cars, board games, and none are related to weapons, war or had sharp [points or edges], seeking safety and promoting healthy entertainment,” the mayor noted.

The children also enjoyed candy, popcorn and cotton candy, as well as pizza, water and soft drinks. The event started at 10 a.m. and went on until 3 p.m.

Norma Gómez, a native of the Martell urbanization, who came with her one-year-old daughter, said “the Three Kings are a symbol of the joy and peace of this time, which should last forever.” For Gómez, her most cherished memory of the beloved holiday “is when my dad would always take us to prepare the grass for the camels.”

“That was not missing,” she said. “At home there were three of us and they are very beautiful memories, which are not forgotten.”

Keisla Rivera, who came with her children and nephews from Barrio Bajadero, celebrated the event with one of her companions, her nephew Jesús Náter, age 10, who insisted that “I am not going to leave grass for the camels, we already get food” for a horse.

“It’s just that everyone has enough grass,” he added, expressing certainty that the revised menu would be more beneficial to the tired camels.

Also cheering with music in the procession of cars was Lourdes Soto, in her character “Lulichuli,” a little clown who has been doing children’s activities for five years, and who enjoys her work “with great joy and enjoying the children’s occurrences.”

“The best thing is her spontaneity and her contagious laughter,” she said. “For me, the celebration of the Three Kings means many memories of family activities with cousins, celebrating and also pulling a couple of pranks. To all those who have come to Petaca Iguina and to all of Puerto Rico, we wish you a happy Three Kings Day this coming Saturday.”

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