Dec. 24, 2015 By Michael Florio
Jackson Heights residents will have the opportunity to sing and dance in an authentic Three Kings Day celebration.
The celebration will start at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 3 at Manuel de Dios Unanue Triangle, located at 83rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
Celebration attendees will visit local shops and restaurants singing traditional holiday songs, according to Leslie Ramos, Executive Director of the 82nd Street Partnership, which is co-hosting the event.
Ramos said the idea of the event is to go door-to-door singing holiday songs and dancing, similarly to how the day is celebrated in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries.
“The idea is to sing and dance and enjoy the culture with your neighbors,” Ramos said. “We will be singing, dancing and shaking as we walk through the streets.”
Bombayo, a musical organization dedicated to preserving the Afro-Puerto Rican tradition of bomba, will provide the musicians.
From the Manuel de Dios Unanue Triangle, attendees will travel along Baxter Avenue to 82nd Street. They will then go along 82nd Street to 37th Avenue, before making a u-turn and going back to Roosevelt Avenue to travel down to 80th Street. It will end at Centro Cultural Barco de Papel, the bookshop located at 40-03 80th St., Ramos said.
“I am very excited 82nd Street businesses will be included,” she said.
The bookshop will have workshops set up where people can learn about the music and the history behind the celebration. Children will receive free books, as part of the holiday tradition, according to Ramos.
“It is tradition to give gifts to children,” she said. “We want to carry that tradition into the community.”
The event will end around 3:30 p.m.
This is the 82nd Street Partnership’s first year co-hosting the event. The bookshop and R.Evolucion Latina, an organization looking to spread Latin American culture, held the inaugural event last year.
Last year approximately 30 people partook in the celebration. This year, Ramos expects to begin with about 30 and for the group to grow as it goes along.
“That is the idea of the celebration,” she said. “In Puerto Rico neighbors join in as you go door-to-door and we want the same thing here.”
Ramos is hopeful that residents will join in on the celebration.
“Even if people don’t know the songs but just want to have fun and dance,” she said. “Everyone is welcome to join in and participate.”
There is no cost to participate.
Ramos wants to make the event an annual tradition that grows every year.
“I would like it to be as popular as it is in Puerto Rico,” she said. “Every year thousands celebrate the holiday there.”