Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Twelfth Night


For many cultures and Catholic communities around the world, the Christmas season is not complete until Epiphany or Twelfth Night, when tradition says the three kings, or wise men, came with gifts for the newborn Jesus.

In fact, Jan. 6 used to be the day when gifts were exchanged and children opened presents ---- before Santa Claus took over the holiday. Even today, in Spain, children put out shoes stuffed with hay for the Three Kings' camels, so the wise men will leave gifts in exchange for the hay. And in Mexico, children still write letters to the wise men, sending the notes up in a party balloon on the evening before Epiphany, when gifts are found on their beds the next morning.

16 comments:

High Desert Diva said...

I like the idea of shoes stuffed with hay awaiting gifts...

OH MY #6 said...

I have always loved knowing about others traditions!

Santa Claus sure has had a lot of pull over the years. hasn't he?

Yoli, as usual thank you for this interesting tidbit!

Lea
xo

Mamacita said...

I really wish we maintained that tradition. Then Christ-mas would be about Christ. And ephiphany could be about the symbolism of gifts. Its far better than the commercialism of Santa Claus. We're going to a tree bonfire tonight!

José Luis said...

Our girls woke up very early this morning to see their presents next to their shoes near the fireplace. Last night was magical for them. Now they're playing and enjoying their presents,having fun and enjoying "los reyes".Christmas holiday goes on till the day after tomorrow (back to school) :-(
We live in the south of Spain.

3continentfamily said...

So cool! Thanks for that post. Since we live in Holland we celebrate Sinter Klaas (Dec 5) and then Christmas in the US...

l'air du temps said...

i like the way no matter where we are from or what our faith tradition is, december and early january seems to be a time that most of us agree on love and community... this idea i love.

Juliette said...

That's also the day we eat la Galette des rois (or Kings cake) in France. We put a little porcelain figurine or coin in it and the one who get the piece of cake with the figurine is the king or queen of the day and get a crown.
As they don't sell it here in bakeries we have learnt to do our own and it is super yummy!

Mrs Pushy said...

Thanks for the info... now I have an excuse if someone asks me why my tree is still up!

susanna said...

Very interesting. I like the idea of waiting to exchange gifts til January, too. And your new blog banner, btw, is so beautiful! Did you take it? It's so lovely.

Yoli said...

Nope, it is a photograph I tore off a magazine I've had for some time.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I always loved the Three Wise Men. They were the most mysterious characters of the nativity and just fascinating to me.

Mary-Laure said...

When I was visiting my grandparents in Uruguay, we always celebrated the Reyes Mayos... I loved it!

Elizabeth said...

I like the photo. The shadows look so very real.

Annie Coe said...

I always learn something new when I come here, dear Yoli. Happy New Year!

A Cuban In London said...

I remember 6th January at home because my late Nana used to present us with very humble presents. She was raised Catholic but also dabbled in 'santeria', the Afro-Cuban religion that represents the union of Catholicism with Yoruba culture. Thanks for this post.

Greetings from London.

Hajar said...

Love the little snippets. ^^ It's always wonderful to find out more about others' traditions.