Calle Ocho made way for three clomping camels on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Miami’s annual Three Kings Day Parade, also known as La Parada de los Reyes Magos.
It’s one of Christianity’s oldest holidays, honoring the night when three wise kings, or magi, trekked to Bethlehem. According to the Book of Matthew, the trio followed a bright star that stopped over the place where Baby Jesus lay. After finding the newborn with the Virgin Mary, the wise kings bestowed gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Three Kinds are widely celebrated in the Hispanic world, with one of the largest parades occurring in Madrid, Spain. This is the 49th year of the event in Miami and it was led by Venezuelan singer Nacho.
Miami Police drove through the parade bearing gifts like coloring books and stuffed animals to waving kids on the sidelines. Police officers from several agencies in Miami-Dade County also led the parade with a roaring motorcade.
Miami-Dae County residents like father Sergio Cerdeñas made sure to get to the parade early to grab a view of this year's three wise kings. It was his daughter's first time being hoisted up above the crowd.
“My little girl, she wants to see the festival,” he laughed.
But even though the wise kings and camels were at the front, the parade also encompassed over a mile of local bands. "It’s an honor to be chosen," said Miami Norland Senior High Color Guard Coach Dandra Beal.
“Even though it’s hot, but we’re here,” she said. “We usually don’t come to this parade but they decided to invite us. It made us feel like we’re good enough to be here.”
Leaning out of her Little Havana balcony as a kid, she grew up surrounded by the vibrancy of the parade. Now, Beal’s helping to lead it.