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Feliz Dia de los Reyes Majos Puerto rican pride, Puerto rico, Puerto ricans

Like in America, Puerto Rico’s primary winter holiday is centered around the birth of Christ. In the Latin World, however, these three men are perhaps more celebrated than Jesus, himself. As the Bible story goes, Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar were drawn to Christ’s birth by a mysterious light, but they arrived late, which is why the 12 days of Christmas is celebrated following December 25 . At the end of it, on January 6, is what they call Epiphany, also known as feast day or the Adoration of the Magi. Have you ever celebrated Dia de Los Reyes and eaten Rosca de Reyes (King’s Cake)? I am ashamed to admit I have never celebrated this holiday nor have I ever purchased or let alone made Rosca de Reyes.

On a smaller scale, similar events would take place in the parishes throughout the nation. In Transylvania (Erdély/Siebenbürgen), Lutheran and Reformed Christians of Hungarian and Saxon descent celebrate Epiphany with star singing and house blessing, as in Central Europe. The star singing custom had long ago spread throughout Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Here the star, called Steaua, today resembles a stained-glass lantern and features an Orthodox icon at its center, a tradition pointing to the blending of both East and West which characterizes the two nations on the river Prut. In Portugal, Epiphany, January 6, is called dia dos Reis , during which the traditional Bolo Rei is baked and eaten.

Throughout the year, excitement runs high in the villages to see who will be chosen. The boys selected are meticulously groomed, and must grow their hair long in time for the festival. The procession involves the three kings wearing jeweled red velvet robes and crowns, riding white horses decked with flowers and fine cloth, and they are shaded by colorful parasols, with a retinue of hundreds. In the Dominican Republic, the Día de los Tres Reyes Magos and in this day children receive gifts on the christmas tree in a similar fashion to Christmas day. On this day public areas are very active with children accompanied by their parents trying out their new toys.

A miracle attested to as early as St. John Chrysostom. Some regions and especially some communities celebrating the Tridentine Mass extend the season to as many as forty days, ending Christmastide traditionally on Candlemas . Prior to 1976, Anglican churches observed an eight-day octave, beginning on January 6.

In Brazil, the day is called “Dia dos Reis” and in the rest of Latin America “Día de Reyes” commemorating the arrival of the Magi to confirm Jesus as son of God. The night of January 5 into the morning of January 6 is known as “Night of Kings” and is feasted with music, sweets and regional dishes as the last night of Nativity, when Christmas decorations are traditionally put away. The priests are going to throw a wooden cross in the Yantra river. Believers will then jump into the icy waters to recover the cross. In 1955 a separate feast of the Baptism of the Lord was instituted, thus weakening further the connection in the West between the feast of the Epiphany and the commemoration of the baptism of Christ.

In the Karelian language Epiphany is called vieristä, meaning cross, from the Orthodox custom of submerging a cross three times to bless water on this day. Today, in the Lutheran church, Epiphany is a day dedicated to a focus on missionary work in addition to the Wise Men narrative. Between 1973 and 1991 Epiphany was observed in Finland on a Saturday each year no earlier than January 6, and no later than January 12. After that time however, the traditional date of January 6 was restored and has since been observed once again as a national public holiday. Three Kings Day is widely celebrated in the Latin world, but those celebrations—like Christmas—have evolved over the years. Today, Puerto Ricans pay homage to the kings with carnivals, parades, fairs, and feasts that tourists are welcome to participate in, too.

The evening of January 5 marks the Twelfth Night of Christmas and is when the figurines of the three Biblical Magi are added to the nativity scene. Traditionally in Mexico, as with many other Latin American countries, Santa Claus doesn’t hold the cachet that he does in the United States. Rather, it is the Magi who are the bearers of gifts, who leave presents in or near the shoes of small children. Mexican families also commemorate the date by eating Rosca de reyes. In some regions of Macedonia it is the biggest festival of the year. The Baptism of Christ symbolizes the rebirth of man, its importance is such that until the fourth century Christians celebrated New Year on this day.

Another Low Countries tradition on Epiphany is to open up doors and windows to let good luck in for the coming year. In Bulgaria, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6 and is known as Bogoyavlenie (“Manifestation of God”), Кръщение chicharron pronunciation Господне (Krashtenie Gospodne or “Baptism of the Lord”) or Yordanovden (“Day of Jordan”, referring to the river). On this day, a wooden cross is thrown by a priest into the sea, river or lake and young men race to retrieve it.

We’ve detected that JavaScript is disabled in this browser. Please enable JavaScript or switch to a supported browser to continue using twitter.com. You can see a list of supported browsers in our Help Center. Portuguese village of Vale de Salgueiro encourages children, some as young as five, to smoke in a tradition that does not have clear roots. The Epiphany celebration serves as the initial setting for – and anchors the action, theme, and climax of – James Joyce’s short story “The Dead” from his 1914 collection, Dubliners. The Orthodox consider Jesus’ Baptism to be the first step towards the Crucifixion, and there are some parallels in the hymnography used on this day and the hymns chanted on Good Friday.

In the past bright stars of fabric were sewn onto the background of dark colored quilts, representing the night sky. Epiphany was a day of enjoyment, spent in horse-drawn open sleighs, and these quilts would then be taken along to cover the laps of the merry riders. If Epiphany Day was bright and mild and the sun “warmed the horses’ backs” it was said that the coming year would bring only peace.