Tuesday, January 5, 2010

3 Kings and a New Year....here we go!

Today is the feast day of the Epiphany. The Three Kings. Los Reyes Magos. When the 3 old wise men visit and pay their respects to Jesus in Bethlehem, bringing with them gold, myrrh, and frankincense.

Of all the holiday festivities over the Christmas season, I would dare to say that January 6th is probably the most anticipated and the most celebrated by Mexicans.

Christmas Day does bring gifts from Santa Claus, but the majority of presents for chamacos and chamacas (kids) come from the 3 Kings. Instead of leaving milk and cookies for Ole' Saint Nick (I personally used to leave him whiskey - according to my Pappi: last thing Santa wanted after trekking around the globe was milk*) - children leave grass and hay for the camels the Reyes Magos rode in on. Come to think of it, they should leave that for the reindeer on the 24th too...how come only Santa gets refreshments? And...they also leave their shoes out in the hopes that they will be filled with goodies.

*you can imagine how long my fantasy of Santa lasted...deprived child here.

Growing up, I remember all the beautifully decorated mangers at churches and in front of people's homes over the holidays...so it's not like this feast is foreign to me. However, Christmas Day was really more of the celebration during my childhood. On Three Kings, we would go to mass and then come home and finally take down the tree and all the decor. But no more gifts!

So in 2005, during my first trip to Mexico, I also got to experience my first Dia de Reyes - with the Rosca de Reyes and the hot chocolate and all the warmth of family and friends.

The Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread baked in the form of a ring with a little doll (representing baby Jesus) hidden inside.

Tradition is that whoever finds it has to host a party at their house a month later for Dia de la Candelaria.

As we get older (I say we, 'cause I'm not the only one getting old dear reader!), January 6th has also come to represent something of equal importance: el fin de Guadalupe-Reyes!!! December 12th is Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe; and the start of all the holiday festivities in Mexico.

Thus, for the next 25 days, everyone is engaged in a marathon of family comidas, end-of-the-year office parties, get-togethers with friends, and new year celebrations. It literally does not STOP.

So today - the Three Kings have finally brought an end to the non-stop socializing and holiday rush, some time to detox (at least a little!), and to once again start anew on all those resolutions we make, but never seem to keep.

Maybe this year...

1 comment:

  1. hey jo!! i didnt know that about the gift! as i am sure you know we have the roscon in spain but u get the little present inside and i think thats it...i like that idea better that the person that gets it has to host a party... always more reasons to celebrate these mexicaaansss!!:) un beso vane angulo