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Los 3 Reyes Magos

photo from Wikipedia
The Christmas season continues here in Spain. While other countries are packing up their Christmas trees, today is traditionally the big celebration for the niños here on the Iberian peninsula. The Feast of Epiphany (January 6th) is the day where the 3 wise men or the 3 kings of the orient, bring gifts to children.

Each one of the Magi is supposed to represent a different continent, Europe (Caspar), Asia (Melchior) and Africa (Balthasar) and on January 5th every city in Spain has a parade (Cabalgata de Reyes) where they go through the streets throwing out sweets and taking letters from children. Then on that night the kiddies leave out food for the kings and the camels (sound familiar?) and awake to the presents. Some families shine their shoes and leave them out in hopes of receiving something more than a lump of coal.

Some Spanish tradition holds that actually 2 of the 3 wise men came from Yemen and one year I spent Christmas Eve camped out on a deserted beach called Bir Ali just below the ruins of the ancient city Cana. There are few better ways to celebrate Christmas than swimming in the beautiful Gulf of Arabia with wild dolphins that happen by. Just you, your driver and of course the Army guy there to 'protect' you.

On the way down the coast to Aden, we also stopped at another of the legendary homes of one of the wise men, Azan. A small village of beautiful adobe homes that is definitely worth the slight detour enroute to Aden.

Two extremely different countries tied together by legend.

Comments

Erik R. said…
I had never heard that "they represent three continents" metaphor before. It seems dangerous to bring too much symbolism into "the actual events transcribed exactly how they happened" that is The Holy Bible.
Troy said…
Too true...in fact from what I understand their actual presence in the bible is quite brief if not imaginary.

But we can't deny that they do play a very big part in the culture mythology (if that is such a thing) here in Spain.

Thanks for being the first to comment on the new blog Erik! Any comments or suggestions on how to better it would be great.
Cheers!

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