Join the Latino Merchants Association this evening (January 6th) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 375 Morris Avenue in Trenton, as they celebrate the Three Kings Feast Day. This event was canceled last year due to the pandemic. This year, the celebration comes back with new COVID-19 regulations.
For starters, it won’t be a festival. Instead, the Latino Merchants Association will be handing out presents to families in their cars as they come by. “What we’re gonna do,” Manuel Hernandez, the president of the Latino Merchants Association said. “We’re gonna walk down to the families in their cars, count how many kids are in a car, and then we’re gonna walk down with the presents.” For families who walk over or do not have a car, the LMA will have them come into the office one by one to receive presents.
The Three Kings Feast Day, largely celebrated by the Latino Community, celebrates the Three Magi who journeyed to Bethlehem at Jesus’ Birth to give him presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This is where the tradition of giving additional gifts to children comes from. Currently, the Latino population makes up a little over 38% of Trenton’s population. “We are right in the heart of this Latino community and our village is all around us, all around Trenton,” Hernandez said. The population is the third-largest after the African American and Caucasian population within the city.
Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg, a Trenton Community Activist and former member of Latino Merchant Associations’ Executive Board explained why this holiday is important. “It is a way of just bringing gifts to children, you know, in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ as an incarnate of God…the Hispanic community, specifically, have a celebration. It’s a feast and they just bring brand new gifts for the children, it’s cool because if you’re Hispanic, you get Christmas and you get Three Kings.”
She is cautious about the celebration happening though, that although reports seem to be looking on the brighter side with COVID-19, we aren’t out of the woods yet. “I mean, it’s still kind of scary, because, you know, we’re not out of the dark yet,” Kettenburg said. “There are so many people with the perception that oh, we’re great. Now, we’re fine, no worries.” She explains that even though COVID-19 is still something that families should worry about, it shouldn’t stop them from trying to make their children happy. “At the same time we have to think about the children too, and you know…keeping them safe, but also keeping that magical life for them…let them know that these are the holidays and this is how we celebrate and you deserve it too,” Kettenburg said.