For some neighborhood families, it’s not just Christmas that is the reason for the season.
About 150 people came out to Concilio’s Banquet Hall in Northern Liberties last Friday evening to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, known to some as “Three Kings Day.”
Julie Counsler Emig, deputy director at Concilio, said this annual event has been held for decades by the organization that provides a variety of social services and cultural opportunities to the surrounding community.
Concilio helps kids in foster care and offers an after school program to children in Northern Liberties, Fishtown and other surrounding neighborhoods.
Three Kings Day is officially observed 12 days after Christmas on Jan. 6 and is celebrated by many families of Latino descent.
The holiday remembers the day when the three wise men traveled to present gifts to the baby Jesus.
Most of the attendees were children and their families who participate in the after school and foster care programs.
Dinner and hot chocolate was served and there was a cultural portrayal of the story of the three wise men, with several members of the board of trustees at Concilio playing the lead roles.
Also in attendance at the event were dance performers “Mambodelphia.” The Phillie Phanatic made a guest appearance.
Consler Emig said the event is not only a celebration of the traditional holiday, but also a chance for the organization to focus on the children who are most in need.
Gifts donated by HealthPartners Plans Philadelphia were presented to children at the event.
“It’s huge,” Counselor Emig said. “The kids always go crazy, and the parents are extremely appreciative.”
At the end of the day, though, the children who attended the event received more than just gifts.
“A lot of the kids we serve are African American, so it’s cool to for them to get to learn about different cultures and appreciate diversity,” Counselor Emig said.
“It’s nice for us to remind them of the significance of the history and the story.”