Three Kings Day, when the Magi met the infant Jesus in a Bethlehem stable, will be celebrated for the third year in a row in Huntington Station with gifts for children and food supplies and housing help for their parents on Thursday afternoon, said the organizer, Housing Help Inc.
The holiday, traditionally celebrated on Jan. 6, is one of Christianity’s most joyous between Christmas and Easter for Spanish-speaking countries around the globe, with varying traditions.
The drive-thru event in Huntington Station, which last year drew about 800 people, showcases “our culture, pride, and appreciation to our community,” said Pilar Moya-Mancera, executive director of the Greenlawn-based not-for-profit, in a statement.
And, she said by telephone, “another goal of the event … is to help our elected officials interact with the community they serve” to improve communication and understanding.
This year’s theme is “Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants,” and Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr. will discuss “evictions, foreclosures and how to prevent them,” the statement said, as well as other community resources.
"This time of year, it is in the spirit of the season to support the community and celebrate with residents,” Toulon said in a statement, adding he was “proud” to participate.
In Brentwood, Saint Anne’s Roman Catholic Church will celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord at its Saturday vigil and Sunday Masses, a parish spokeswoman said.
Children will be offered gifts on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus Hall next to the church at 88 Second Ave. The gifts were collected by the Puerto Rican Coalition for a Better Community, said Ana Ramos, a pastoral associate for the parish.
Three Kings Day also inspired a pajama and toy giveaway on Jan. 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Yaphank, at the Sheriff's Office START Resource Center, his press office said.
Some children may have waited longer than others for their holiday presents.
Gifts may be given on Three Kings Day instead of Christmas, said Moya-Mancera, of Housing Help.
This timing matches the way the Magi honored Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh after following the star of Bethlehem to the manger where he lay.
Just like leaving milk and cookies out for Santa Claus — who will appear in Huntington along with Mrs. Claus, courtesy of costume-donning Huntington Town Clerk Andrew Raia and Suffolk County Legis. Stephanie Bontempi — children put their shoes out the night before Three Kings Day.
The Magi, observing those small sizes, will then know to leave gifts for the youngsters.
In some cultures, hay is provided for the camels the Three Wise Men ride.
The Housing Help Inc. festivities will be held at the Huntington Assembly of God, 1700 New York Ave., Huntington Station, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Other Three Kings Day events are planned by Harlem’s New York City El Museo del Barrio, which says its 46th celebration starts Friday at 8:30 a.m. with a breakfast, followed by a parade up Fifth Avenue, and live performances beginning at 2 p.m.
In Astoria, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church on Sunday will mark the holiday with a chance to take pictures with the Magi at the school cafeteria from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.