Move over, Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior.
This year the Three Kings were two branch librarians.
The switcheroo took place at a Three Kings Day event for little ones convened at the Fair Haven Branch Library on Monday afternoon.
The make-your-own-crown fun attracted a dozen kids and their parents to the anchoring community institution on Grand Avenue. Outside the library, cars, trucks, and even a bike were parked, but nary a camel was in sight.
Before the kids arrived, the traditional shoebox-full of, well, make-believe straw was arrayed along with, of course, the bottled water. Those magi had a long dusty trip to get to Bethlehem-by-the Quinnipiac.
This was the first Three Kings Day event that Hernadez has organized since she took over this year from longtime librarian Betsy Goldberg, who has retired.
Hernandez and her stuff had the kids, like second-grader Syra Barrett-Diaz, working away with the scissors, glitter, feathers, and glue to decorate the crowns.
The girls used more feathers than the boys and seemed to place them at the top of their crowns, the boys at the bottom.
Jayden Barrett, who is 6 and attends Ross/Woodward Classical Studies School, turned the feathers sidewise into an inventive mustachioed mouth.
Syra countered by having two stars hold up the moon.
The work was intense if brief. The kids sensed—as it turned out correctly—that after they donned their crowns, there would be presents.
Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, which had an oversupply of gift bags from Christmas, sent a bunch over to fill the gift coffers at the library.
After the glitter was swept from the tables and a few emergency glue-from-finger-tip operations conducted, the librarians served the traditional Three Kings Day food, a pan dulce, or sweet bread known as rosca de reyes.
Hernandez explained that by tradition there’s always a little figurine of Baby Jesus in each rosca. Whoever’s piece contains the Jesus is obliged to throw a big party on Feb. 2r, the occasion being Dia del la Candelaria, or Baby Jesus’s presentation in the temple.
“We’re nervous about the Baby Jesus,” said Buenano. Since the librarians didn’t want to put pressure on anyone, especially the 6-year-olds eating the rosca, they decided to remove the figurine from the cake.
The kids gave a big thumbs up to the presents, which included popcorn, books, and gift certificates to fast-food restaurants.
As she swept purple glitter from one of the table tops, Hernandez said, “We’re going to save up for costumes for next year.”