WAILUA — The list of honorees on Three Kings Day, which took place at Kinipopo Shopping Village on Friday, included Kaua‘i County Council members Felicia Cowden and Billy DeCosta.
Kaua‘i High School instructor Greg Anderson, who was accompanied by University of Notre Dame student Julia Safford, a Kaua‘i High School alumnus, Pastor Bruce Baumgartner of the Calvary Chapel, Lihu‘e, and Michael Serioff of Passion Bakery were also honorees.
“Sustainable Boost is hosting a celebration — today, Jan. 6 is the actual Three Kings Day! — to honor folks in Wailua and nearby for making a difference in small and big ways for those facing hardship in their lives,” said Lourdes Torres, owner of Sustainable Boost, located across the walkway from Passion Bakery in the Kinipopo Shopping Village.
“Kaua‘i is my home, now, and I want to bring the tradition of Three Kings Day here from Puerto Rico where I was born. Today, we also celebrate rising from the ashes of COVID.”
In addition to the honorees, Torres and Sustainable Boost offered donations of $2,500 to the Calvary Chapel, represented by Albert Wong, and Passion Bakery and its nonprofit organization that provided countless meals for those in need, particularly, the houseless.
“Michael of Passion Bakery was instrumental in helping me with his resources to continue the work being done by Sustainable Boost when weather damage disabled our equipment,” Torres said.
“He never accepted any compensation for any of the equipment, or costs for its use, so we are donating to his nonprofit group that helps everyone in the Wailua area and beyond, including the houseless folk.”
Cowden said one of the day’s guests, Puanani McKeague of Na Leo O Kaua‘i 06, deserved to be on the list of honorees.
“I want to recognize and thank my houseless community members for coming to my rescue after COVID had me shut down my business and let my employees go,” Torres said.
“They remembered my kindness of letting them charge their smartphones, or filling containers with fresh drinking water. They came back to help me with my business, day and night where often times, we would be cooking 14 to 20 meals a night to make sure that everyone who was helping out was fed.”
A final announcement that Sustainable Boost was going “global” prepared the audience for specially-prepared Puerto Rican dishes.
“Three Kinds Day is very special to me and my Puerto Rican culture and heritage,” Torres said. “Because of the support and help I received from the list of honorees, and many others beyond the list, Sustainable Boost is able to expand to Puerto Rico to recreate what is happening here. There is an overabundance of ulu that people don’t know what to do with it.”
On the 12th day of Christmas, Three Kings Day is celebrated in most of Europe, Spain and Latin America, as “El Dia de los Reyes.”
According to online sources, in Mexico and many other Latin American countries, Santa Claus isn’t as popular as he is in the United States. Rather, it is the Three Wise Men who are the bearers of gifts and leave presents in or near the shoes of small children. This holiday is also known by the name Epiphany, which dates back to the 4th century.
“I was born in Puerto Rico, and moved to New York,” Torres said. “We always had two Christmases. I always put grass (for the camels to eat) under my bed on the eve of Three Kings Day, and there would be presents when I got up.”
Source: The Garden Island