Friday, January 2, 2009

Jan 3, 2009: Epiphany of the Lord

Most of the Christmas shopping is finished here in the United States, but elsewhere in the world, Christmas shopping is just starting. In Spain and Latin America, Christmas presents are not delivered by a big man in a red suit with white beard. On January 6, most of the Hispanic world celebrates El Dia De Reyes, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus. A couple of days before January 6th, the children write their letters to the Wise Men, or to their favorite Rey Mago: Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltasar, asking for the presents they would like to receive. On the night, of January 5, the figurines of the Three Wise Men are added to the nativity scene. Before going to bed the children place their old shoes under their bed or in the living room, where the Wise Men will leave them their presents. Some also place outside the house, some hay and a bucket with water for the animals, and even some cookies and milk for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. Reluctantly children go off to bed. As soon as they wake up, which is earlier than any other day, they run to see the gifts that the Three Magi left for them. This is also the day when king cakes are baked and sold in the bakeries.

The Greek word Epiphany means manifestation or