DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Many Latino families across the Triangle are preparing to celebrate Three Kings Day, an annual tradition that is a huge cultural draw.
"Three kings come tonight at midnight like Santa and they provide us with toys. The children wake up tomorrow and during the afternoon we cut the king cake," said Berenice Malagon with El Centro Hispano. "It's an important tradition for the Hispanic community."
El Centro Hispano is working to keep the Latino tradition for Catholics alive as many are cash-strapped and struggling with inflation. The organization wanted to make sure families in need were able to celebrate. A distribution of king cakes and toys was held at three locations in Carrboro, Raleigh and Durham.
You have to find the baby inside the king cake and if you find it, you have to make tamalesAbby Marroquin, panaderia owner
Raleigh mom Maria Cueto was raised in Mexico City and is sharing the tradition with her two children. She admitted that this distribution was a big financial help one week after Christmas.
"We feel like we are seen, and we can celebrate our tradition," she said. "We had some expenses from Santa Claus ... you know?"
Raleigh bakery Panaderia y Pasteleria Pahuatlan was hoping to cash in. It was big business for the Mexican bakery as boxes of the sweet treat were stacked high. They are being sold for between $35 and $50 each.
"We expect to sell around 800 or 1,000," said owner Abby Marroquin. "You have to find the baby inside the king cake and if you find it, you have to make tamales."
It's something that brings back memories for Cueto, who remembers what it meant during her childhood.
"I was very happy to receive toys after Christmas. It's been a tradition in our family for a long time. We want to keep it going for generations," she said.