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First Three Kings Day Parade Brings Smiles to Inwood Streets

By Paul Lomax | January 6, 2013 5:54pm

INWOOD — While the New Year marked the 36th annual Harlem parade honoring Three Kings Day, a traditional holiday in Latin America and Spain that takes place on the day the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, Inwood started a new tradition, featuring elected officials as the stars of the show on Sunday.

A small crowd braved the chilly morning to enjoy the parade which fell on the actual holiday, of January 6, 2013.

Donning flamboyant costumes, City Councilman Robert Jackson, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, and Fernando Mateo, co-owner of the La Marina Restaurant, lead the parade as the three wise men.

Three Kings Day celebrates the Epiphany, when the luminaries were said to have completed a 12-day journey to find the infant Jesus and give him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

"This is the first time we've done this and we're very happy to be here, and hope to do it every year for the kids of Inwood and Washington Heights," said Espaillat.

Jackson echoed his sentiments, saying, "This is a great celebration for all the people of Inwood on the twelfth day of Christmas."

For those in the neighborhood, it brought a bit of brightness to a bitter-cold Sunday morning.

"This is a very special tradition for my family, especially for my daughter," said Helen Ausejo, 36, from Washington Heights, who watched with husband Manuel Gonzalez, 32, and daughter Ciara, 4. "She loves to see all the animals."