Happy New Year!
January 6th, marks the Feast of the Epiphany on the Catholic Church calendar.
If you were counting the 12 days of Christmas – from December 25th until the 5th of January – you would have just received your 12 Lords a Leaping.
And you would probably be frantically posting stuff on eBay, because really? Do you need seven swans a swimming AND FIVE golden rings? I’m just sayin.’
Back to January 6th.
In Cuba and possibly most Latin countries, the children would be getting up and opening gifts this morning. The gifts were delivered by the Three Kings. We called it El Dia de Los Reyes. The Day of the Three Kings.
Santa Claus was a minor player in the Cuban Christmases of our youth. But we faithfully waited and counted down the 12 days until the eve of the arrival of the Three Kings. Los 3 Reyes Magos. The Magi. The 3 Wise Men.
As you know, they were late for the birth of Jesus. It was the Angels and the Shepherds who got the first round of celestial calls that a baby was born. The Magi followed the Star and arrived at the manger scene apparently as the 12 Lords were Leaping away.
No. Not really. I’m just trying to marry the 12 days of Christmas and the arrival of the Magi in your mind, but that’s not important right now.
The cool thing was that there were three (!) of them and they had camels, people! And boy, could they carry stuff! So on the morning of the 6th of January, you would know that you had been visited. Because of the stacks of gifts. There were presents everywhere.
That was then. This is now.
My Christmas decorations are still up. And I confess, we didn’t actually start decorating until the 22nd of December. Some of you just fainted dead away, didn’t you? I know. I know. You will be protesting: “Everyone decorates for Christmas on Thanksgiving weekend!” We don’t. That just doesn’t feel right to me. Don’t judge.
It makes Christmas much more fresh and magical and the following 12 days much more special and sweet.
And no, we don’t put shoes out for the Magi. We still use the stockings. And who knows? Melchoir, King of Arabia, might have brought gold. Gaspar, King of Tarsus, might have dropped off some myrrh; and Balthasar, King of Ethiopia, was renowned for his magnificent frankincense. (Matthew 2:11)
Of course, we knew them by name! They visited us every year on January 6th. Duh.
Even if they don’t show again this year, I’ll still wait for them. I’ll sit very still and hope that after these 50+ long years in exile they will find my address again and leave a token of their visit.
And then tomorrow I will take down our Christmas decorations and be glad for another new year.
And okay…full disclosure: I may or may not have put out some dried grass for the camels….por si las moscas…
Feliz Dia de Los Reyes!
Do you celebrate El Dia de Los Reyes? Tell me.