The holiday season officially came to an end in northern Brooklyn on Sunday as the annual Three Kings Day Parade – delayed a week by bad weather — made its way through Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy.
In many Christian practices and cultures, Three Kings Day — also called Epiphany or Little Christmas — marks the day the Three Wise Men visited Jesus after his birth. The holiday is widely celebrated in Puerto Rico, and Brooklyn’s large Puerto Rican communities have made the celebration a beloved Kings County tradition.
Though cold weather and snow flurries brought a chill to the air, the vibrant parade kicked off with a ribbon cutting by Grand Marshal NYPD Assistant Chief Scott Henderson and community leaders at the corner of Meeker Avenue and Graham Avenue — also known as Avenue of Puerto Rico — on Sunday morning.
“I’m honored to be here, to be chosen as the Grand Marshal today,” Henderson said. “We got a nice day, we got a nice parade, and we’re doing great things with the community.”
The NYPD marching band lead the way toward Flushing Avenue as paraders in colorful costumes danced to a drum beat. The Three Kings — holding gifts for the newborn Jesus — rode on one float, while students from P.S. 257 waved American and Puerto Rican flags as they proceeded down the 25-block parade route. At the end of the parade, one more Christmas treat awaited young Brooklynites as the Three Kings hopped off of their float to hand out free gifts.
Detective Kenneth J. Melendez, the godfather of the parade, said he was proud to take part in the long-running tradition.
“This is a culture that’s been around for a very long time, we’re bringing it here to Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” he said. “I’m proud to be the godfather of the Three Kings Day Parade.”
Additional reporting by Arthur de Gaeta