Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holy Days!

Los Tres Reyes Magos - Puerto Rico

The Christmas season

A quick reminder that the Christmas season for Catholics is just beginning. We are still awaiting the arrival of the Three Wise Men on the Feast of the Epiphany – celebrated this year on Sunday, January 2, 2011. Actually, the real date of the Epiphany is January 6, but in the US the date is always celebrated on a Sunday. And the Christmas season doesn't officially end until January 9. (I'm not sure if that is inclusive.) And then there is the whole thing about the 12 days of Christmas, but then it gets a bit confusing. The way it is celebrated in the current Catholic liturgical calendar, there are a full two weeks of Christmas season.

Traditionally, in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries like Puerto Rico, the Christmas presents don't arrive until January 6 with the Three Wise Men. I'm not sure how many countries still celebrate this tradition. It's called El Día de los Reyes, and although it may sound similar to Christmas, the gift giving is usually limited to one per child. So it does not lend itself to being commercialized in the same way as the Santa Claus tradition. And there is a definite Biblical basis for the tradition of the Three Wise Men giving gifts to the children.

You would think that the Protestants that believe so strongly in sola scriptura would have picked up on this tradition instead of the very un-biblical Santa and his reindeer. Sorry for the grumbling, I just watched one of those Santa "Clause" movies on TV on Christmas Eve and I couldn't imagine anything more out of harmony with the true spirit of Christmas. This was a classic case in point of how the secular humanists have redefined Christmas, and stripped Jesus totally out of the picture. They use those movies to promote all the usual anti-family humanist values. And then they throw in lots of "magical" moments to fill in the spiritual void that this creates.

If people really feel such a deep desire for spiritual fulfillment, then why do they so quickly dismiss the most profound and mysterious spiritual truth in the world which is embodied in Christianity?

4 comments:

  1. I was a last minute Christmas gift :) I was born january 9th

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  2. What a wonderful Christmas present for your parents. The Three Kings must have been slightly delayed by weather that year. :)

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  3. Hey! I'm from Puerto Rico and yes... we still celebrate El Día de Reyes (also, most of people celebrate both Three Kings Day and Christmas) In Puerto Rico, most of people receive gifts twice in Christmas Season, the first in Dec/25 (some people, following Santa's tradition; others, most of christians, as Gifts from Baby Jesus). Then, on Jan/6th kids receive gifts again. The tradition is receiving just one present or three simple, modest presents. The celebrations on The 3 Kings Day are greater, not just because of religion, but mostly because it has become part of our culture. In this day most of people wake up to see kids open their presents, then go to church and then spend the afternoon with the whole family. I can say it is still one of most importante days in Puerto Rico's culture, specially between christians.

    I also was wondering... how/where did you found that picture of Los Tres Reyes Magos? It is beautiful; do you know the name of the artisan?

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  4. Hi. It's good to hear from someone in Puerto Rico. Do the children still put straw under the bed in a box for the camels or horses of the Three Kings?

    The link that you are asking for is actually available if you click on the caption. Here it is again:
    http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=35463

    Surprise! It is from the Smithsonian and is part of their collection of American Art. It is quite "típico" of an older santero style. It says it's part of the "Caban group". I'm not sure if that means that the artist's last name is Caban. But it does say that it is from around 1875-1900.

    There is more information here:
    http://americanart.si.edu/luce/object.cfm?key=338&artistmedia=0&subkey=184082

    And here:
    http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/results/?id=7200

    ¡Feliz Día de Reyes!

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