La Fiesta de Los Tres Reyes

Truly wise people know that they doan know ever'thang. I love the Magi--they is a symbol fer us all, folks who knew they was bein' called to look fer something more an we oughta go out an' seek it.

"A star shall rise out of Jacob and a sceptre shall spring from Israel." (Numbers 24:14)

SO these wise men from a Medean priestly caste of scholars--legend names them Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar--were aware of this ancient prophecy...an' when the star (possibly a confluence of of planets that occured in 2 B.C. or a supernova recorded by Chinese astronomers in 4 B.C.) drew them to Israel they were prepared to find somethin' others missed.

Today ain't akshully the Epiphany, that's the day the Magi arrived at the stable in Bethlehem, but it is the day that most will celebrate it in the US on account of we like our holidays to fall on the weekend, which now includes Fridays and Mondays. The Feast of the Epiphany is January 6th.

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the days BETWEEN Christmas Day an' the arrival of the Three Kings ..although we doan know thar' wuz only three--we assume that 'cause only three gifts is listed. But I love the story of the THE OTHER WISE MAN by Henry Van Dyke.

The magi's gifts are Gold (tribute for a king), Frankincense (glory) and Myrrh (embalming ointment --symbol of everlasting life). Tradition has St. Joseph using the gold to finance the Holy Family's flight to Egypt when Herod's fury wuz unleashed against the babies.

The Twelfth Day (Jan 5th) is the traditional day to take down the Christmas festoonery. And a KING'S CAKE (recipe below) was served on the Twelfth Night. Of course, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is a comedy of merry making and lovesick antics that is only loosely connected to the The Epiphany. Some scholars theorize that as this play wuz first presented on Candelmas Day (Feb 2, the day that ended the Epiphany season), it wuz dubbed Twelfth Night.

In the Eastern Orthodox Tradition the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated with much more gusto that we Latin Christians. They locate their Christmas on Jan.6th, and Epiphany on Jan. 19th. Their term fer it is Theophany--that is, Manifestation of God to men via some tangible mode--i.e. somethin' we "get" via our five senses. ( cf. EX3:2-4:17) This wonderful feast has been celebrated since at least 361 A.D. Gregory of Naziansus done give a great sermon about it in Dec., 380 A.D. (Y'all, Christmas wuz celebrated on Dec. 25th in Rome by 325 A.D.)

In Spain it is Tres Reyes (Three Kings) who bring children gifts...in Alicante camels parade through streets laden with sweets an' gifts..chillens leave their shoes outside to be filled with goodies.

I ackshully prefer the French King's Cake, made wif' puff pastry, but more folks is familiar wif' this version: (click photo fer recipe)


P.S. I will be back late mornin' on Mute Monday. Theme is "catch."

P.S. S. More beauty comments an' responses here.




R.Powers said...

Learned something!
Although I already knew I like 3 Kings Bread.

darkfoam said...

i'll be taking down the tree on the 6th. happy la fiesta de los tres reyes!

SophieMae said...

Thank ya kin'ly, Aint B, fer this post. I grew up right next door to Tarpon Springs - and graduated TSHS - and Epiphany has always been one of my very favourite holy-days. Wish I was down there right now!

Pam said...

I didn't realize that about the king's cake. We don't do those in this part of the country. Although a version has made its way north from N.O. re mardis gras cakes.

sparringK9 said...

frankinsence and myrrh smell great. i love the cathedral at Christmas time. I actually (akshully) like the 12 days of Christmas because the commercial and feasting and travel stress are out of the way and you can focus. its a real gift to be in the process of seeking; and the Magi were very instructive: looking past earthy destinations. good post - i did learn here tonight.

fishy said...

Well Aunty,
You and i is on the same page. We doan take down our holiday "festoonery" until the day after Eptphany. I don't bake much but mah Publix makes a pretty fine substitute.
Our new young, military pastor, he thinks this here is an important event so he hosts an Epiphany party over to the rectory . He provides and prepares all the foods his own self as his gift to his congregation. I like it, I like it a lot. Specially cause he is a fine one for attentions to and education of the young ones. God bless ye Aunty fer sharing the message and the history.