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There was a time when the 12 Days of Christmas referred not to a dozen email marketing promotions running between Dec. 13 and 24, but to the days following Christmas, when a trio of wise men visited Mary and Joseph 12 days after the infant Jesus was born.
Three Kings Day, as the holiday is known, is a huge deal in Latin American and Iberian cultures, and today, Gala Hispanic Theatre continues its three-decade tradition by offering a free celebration in Columbia Heights, in collaboration with National Community Church. Two performances will recount the story of the Magi through drama, song, and dance. Community activists Roland Roebuck, José Sueiro, and Héctor Diaz will star as the incense- and gift-bearing Balthasar, Gaspar, and Melchoir. Additional performers include Honduran singer María Isolina and dance troupes Los Quetzales and Alma Boliviana. Between shows, the company will process up 14th Street NW with a menagerie of burros, sheep, goats, and a rooster. There are, alas, no camels, but free churros are available to all.
The performances begin at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Gala Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. The procession begins at 1 p.m. outside the theater. Free. Tickets required. (202) 234-7174. galatheatre.org.