Mayor Luis A. Quintana, the Newark Municipal Council, and New York Giants Punter Steve Weatherford, hosted the 20th Annual “Newark Three Kings” Celebration for Newark youth aged 6 months to 12 years, earlier this week, at Essex County College. The gymnasium is located at 303 University Avenue in Newark’s Central Ward.
Three Kings Day or Día de Reyes is a traditional day of celebration in Mexico and many Latin countries, as it is in many parts of the U.S., with its 50 million-plus Hispanic population.This day is formally the Feast of the Epiphany on the church calendar, the 12th day after Christmas, when the Gospel of Matthew says the Magi arrived bearing gifts for the divine child, Jesus. The holiday falls annually on Jan. 6 and marks the biblical adoration of baby Jesus by the three Kings, also referred to as Wise Men or Magi. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the men found the divine child by following a star across the desert for twelve days to Bethlehem. Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar — representing Europe, Arabia, and Africa respectively — travelled by horse, camel, and elephant in order to present baby Jesus with three symbolic gifts.
The gold offered by one of the wise men is a symbolic acknowledgment of Jesus’ royal standing as “King of the Jews,” while the frankincense manifests the divine nature of the baby’s existence, since he is not an earthly king but the Son of God. And finally the myrrh, often used to embalm corpses, was gifted to the newborn as a symbol of Jesus’ mortality — foreshadowing his death as a means to cleanse humanity of its sins. “In the Caribbean, it’s bigger than Christmas and it’s kind of like, you know, Christmas is just another thing happening before the Three Kings.”
Its one of Newark oldest traditions in the latino community the event was organized by Three Kings Fund Raiser Committee President J. Kenneth Pagano.
During the “Newark Three Kings” celebration, Santa Claus, the Three Kings, Mickey and Minnie, Ronald McDonald, Dora characters made a special appearance. The event included performances by Newark’s talented youth. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed holiday music, food and toys and gifts.
Special guest was Steve Weatherford an all American football punter for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He also played for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets. Weatherford was the second player to enter the postseason with both New York teams. He also got his first Super Bowl title after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
Weatherford averaged 40.8 yards per punt, and provided the Giants with integral field position, which led to a safety after an intentional grounding penalty by Tom Brady. What must be noted is Mr. Weatherford’s physique, for a punter he is athletically built. He was featured in the December 2011 issue of Men’s Fitness, where his “maniacal” workout routine was described. He is reportedly able to squat 475 pounds and bench press almost 400 pounds, and teammates call him the “strongest player pound-for-pound” on the team.
At the celebration, Mayor Quintana presented Mr. Steve Weatherford with a Key to the City in recognition of his commitment to philanthropy, humanitarian work.