On Saturday, January 6, AAFSW Program Chair Sheila Switzer welcomed more than thirty five AAFSW and AAFSW – FBS members to her gorgeous home for the celebration of the Dia De Los Reyes, the three kings who visited the newborn Jesus with gifts. This feaast day is also known as Epiphany or Theophany.
The event started around 7:00 p.m. with a warm welcome, delicious hot punch and hot chocolate on a blizzardy snowy day, while the buffet table filled up with gourmet food that all guests brought to share. AAFSW and AAFSW – FBS members were all invited to take a tour of the Switzers’ beautiful décor and learn about the 120 adorable nativity scenes delicately displayed on tables and shelves throughout the house.
After the delicious dinner was served, AAFSW and AAFSW – FBS members had the chance to meet and socialize with each other. Sheila and her husband Tom got their guests’ attention with a quiz about the holiday. All guests were asked to introduce themselves first. Then Sheila and Tom asked questions, such as what were the names of the three kings displayed on their coffee table? The answer, of course, was Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
The Switzers shared with their guests how they celebrated Dia De Los Reyes with their children when they were young. It was always a big preparation and lot of expectation in the Switzers’ house. Sheila added that her husband would always go beyond expectation as a wonderful father to bring the Los Reyes spirit into their home. Tom would make sure that the shoeboxes were filled with grass (for the Kings’ camels), and were placed under the children’s beds, and by next morning he also managed to replace the grass with presents. We all learned that Dia De Los Reyes is celebrated in a variety of ways across the world. Children in many countries receive their presents on January 6 from the kings, not from Santa.
Sheila asked some of her guests to describe briefly how the Dia De Los Reyes was celebrated in their native countries, as this is a tradition that is well known in Christianity and celebrated in different ways in other countries.
At the end of Three Kings celebration, a wreath-shaped fruity bread containing figurines of baby Jesus was cut and shared with everyone. Whoever got the portion with the baby Jesus was supposed to host the next event. Three lucky guests, including myself, received with joy and blessings a baby Jesus in their piece of cake.
All guests were very delighted to be welcomed by the amazing Sheila and Tom Switzer into their home. We all learned that day how Mexico and European countries celebrate the Day of the Kings.
Sheila Switzer, AAFSW Program Chair and FBS State Liaison is not only well known as a talented hostess but also a charismatic person. She hosts many phenomenal events in various places that help AAFSW members learn different cultures, to socialize and to make face-to- face connections, and this event was another unforgettable one… Thank you, Sheila Switzer!
Martine Aya Nakpil
AAFSW Bookroom Manager