Three Kings Day: US Schools Giving Day Off on Jan. 6

To many in Latin Americans, Three Kings Day is just as important as Christmas – with families gathering to eat bread and exchange gifts.

But in the United States, many Latino families have found January 6th is not observed as a regular holiday, so children have to attend school rather than spend the day playing with their new toys.

But now, more and more school districts – particularly ones in Latino neighborhoods – are canceling school and recognizing Three Kings as an official holiday.

In Connecticut, with its burgeoning Latino population, district officials announced this week that thousands of students in communities with large Hispanic populations were canceling school today.

The districts, which follows on the heels of many others across the country, is recognizing the day as a vacation day. Some said even if classes were held, attendance would have dipped as many children celebrated at home with their families.

Three Kings Day is popular in Latin America, and many Latinos continue the tradition when they arrive in the United States. The day commemorates the arrival of three wise men bearing gifts for the baby Jesus.

Connecticut districts have latitude to set their own vacation days as long as they satisfy state laws requiring at least 180 days of classes.

Other districts also recognize the day as a no-school day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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