Thursday, January 6, 2011
Today is the celebration of Epiphany which in Greek means appearance. Greeks also call this Theophania which means God appears and there is transformation which, in Greek is called Metamorphosis. In the Greek church this is actually celebrated on August 6 according to the Gregorian calender. Thus the icon above is for that date. It is the incarnation of Jesus Christ to humanity. Some Christian belief systems, as do Old Calender followers, believe that this date is when the Magi brought gifts in his honor. I know this is confusing.
The Christian Latino Community call this "El Dia De Los Reyes" which means the day of the Kings and is also called "El Dia de Los Tres Reyes " The day of the three kings or as we commonly know as the three Magi.
In Mexico, Spain and other Latin countries it is when children receive the majority of their gifts from the Three Kings rather than from Santa Claus at Christmas. Before going to bed the children place their old shoes or a box filled with grass or hay under their bed for the camels with a wish list on top for the Three Kings. In the morning the shoes or box is filled with toys & gifts from the Three Kings.
There is a tradition that a sweet bread is made and a small plastic baby is buried in the bread and if you get the piece with the baby in it you have to make the Tamales on the 2nd of February is which is known as Dia De la Candelaria which means the day of the candles. Or known as candle mass day in Mexico. Traditional food are made that day with Tamales at the top of the menu.
The Orthodox Churches which follow the old calender celebrate Christmas Eve on January 6 and Christmas day on the 7th. Perhaps in another post I can explain the new and old calenders as to Christianity.
Regardless of when these religious holidays are celebrated they basically have the same significance in all Christian churches. The manner of the celebration may be different.