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Posts Tagged ‘Three Kings Day’

Though Santa Claus is making inroads into Mexico, it is today’s early morning visit by Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings, Wise Men) that children anxiously await, as it is Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar who bring gifts on January 6 — Día de los Reyes Magos (aka, Epiphany).

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Yesterday, the municipal DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia) agency and radio station “La Zeta Noticias,” sponsored a kilometer of toys — an annual toy drive for Oaxaca’s disadvantaged children.  More than 3000 toys were collected to be distributed in a number of city and surrounding area neighborhoods. (Alas, only a fraction of the one million plus, 0 – 17 year olds, living in poverty in the state of Oaxaca.)

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Today, the Alameda and zócalo were filled with activities and freebies for kids.  At the booth below, each child received a toy and a carton of milk.

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San Antonio Arrazola and San Martín Tilcajete, the wood carving villages known for their fantastical alebrije, distributed paints, brushes, and paper for the artistically inclined.

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There were chess boards set up to play this most serious of games.

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And, the nacimiento (nativity scene) in the zócalo provided a popular “posing with the Tres Reyes” point.

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In addition to kings bringing kids gifts, January 6 also calls for a special cake — Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings bread).  Bakeries have been working overtime and temporary stalls were set up on a block of Calle Flores Magón — closing it to auto and truck traffic (though motorcycles were a different story).

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Of course, I bought one — though not the large family-size above!  The tradition is to eat and dunk in hot chocolate, but I opted to dunk in my usual half coffee/half chocolate morning beverage.

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By the way, there is a plastic Niño Dios figurine hidden in each Rosca de Reyes, remembering Mary and Joseph concealing baby Jesus from King Herod.  If you are the “lucky” person to bite into it, you must host a tamales and atole party on Candelaria (Candlemas), February 2nd.

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Three Kings Day is drawing to a close and the kings are returning to from whence they came.  I think Melchor is driving — hopefully he has GPS.

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Today, Mexico is celebrating Día de Reyes (aka, Three Kings Day and Epiphany).  It is today, not Christmas, that children wake up to find gifts brought during the night, not by Santa but by the Magi.  Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar still had enough stamina to stroll the Alcalá late this morning handing out presents.  Alas, gold, frankincense, and myrrh seem to have gone out of fashion.

Later this afternoon, at the new Polideportivo Venustiano Carranza, the children’s choir “Agnus Dai,” will perform and “Los Payasos y Domo de la Ciencia” from the Oaxaca Science and Technology Council will hold activities.  After a siesta, los tres Reyes Magos will also make their way up to the sports complex to hold contests and continue their gift giving.

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By the way, at a meeting I attended today, guess who bit into the little plastic baby Jesús hidden in the Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings cake)?  You guessed it!  Hmmm… That means I have to host a tamal and atole party on Candlemas, February 2nd, for everyone at the meeting.  That’s the tradition in Oaxaca!

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We are still enjoying the Christmas merry-go-round in Oaxaca.  Lucky for “children” young and old, the San Pablo Cultural and Educational Center has even provided a real (not just metaphorical) carousel to hop on during this holiday season.  And today, along with riding the merry-go-round, in honor of Día de Reyes, all were welcome to partake in the traditional Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings cake) — served by none other than Tato, the birdbrain (after all he is an ostrich) Oaxaca Guerreros team (baseball) mascot (though I think he was doing more eating than serving).  Thankfully, on this chilly night, there was also hot chocolate (with milk or water, your choice) with which to warm hands and dip cake.

Whew!!!  A baby Jesus figurine was not found in my piece of Rosca de Reyes, so I won’t have to throw a tamale and atole party on Candlemas, February 2nd, for everyone present at this evening’s festivities.

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While Santa Claus is making inroads into Mexico, it’s tonight’s visit by Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar that children anxiously await.  Los Reyes Magos (the Three Wise Men) bring gifts in Mexico, Latin America, and Spain.  Tomorrow, January 6, is El Día de Reyes (aka, Epiphany) and children will scramble to see what the Magi brought them.

Special markets have been set up; puestos upon puestos selling toys, sporting equipment, and any and everything else kids desire.  Friday, it was quite a scene on the Alameda, as for the 22nd year, a toy drive, sponsored by El DIF Municipal and Grupo Radio México, was in progress.  And, naturally, there were payasos (clowns) to help the kings collect.

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According to reports, the Kilómetro del Juguete (kilometer of toys) collected 2500 items on Friday, alone.

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From doll buggies to…

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to skateboards…

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The toys will be distributed to disadvantaged children this afternoon in the Plaza de la Danza, in a program that begins at 5:00 PM.  There will be music (of course!), contests, entertainment, and local celebrities.  Last year was a hoot!

My upstairs neighbors and I have been without running water since yesterday afternoon.  So, we’re just hoping Los Reyes Magos bring us water — preferably today! 

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Early Saturday evening, the Plaza de la Danza played host to the Festival Día de Reyes, an event to delight and distribute a kilometer of donated toys to disadvantaged children.  The Kings had kids and their parents seeing double.

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Lines began forming two hours in advance to be up-front and close to the stage, all the better to be chosen to participate in the games and entertainment that was also part of the festivities.

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The music came up and Oaxaca’s kids began going, “Gangnam Style” — albeit, some more enthusiastically than others — and all got prizes.

Psy may have sung and danced his last “Gangnam Style” on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, however, it remains alive and well in Oaxaca!

According to this morning’s Noticias, 6,500 toys (donated by citizens, city government entities, foundations, and businesses) were given to each child present and all received a piece of rosca de Reyes.

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As they say, a good time was had by all!

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Today, Mexico is celebrating Día de Reyes (aka, Three Kings Day and Epiphany).  It is this morning, not Christmas, that children wake up to find gifts brought during the night not by Santa Claus, but by the Magi.

Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar have had plenty of time and places to shop.  Several days before December 25, in the aisles of my local supermarket, toys had already replaced Christmas decorations.  Llano Park was turned into Oaxaca’s version of a pop-up Toys R Us.  Puestos (stalls) filled the park, selling everything from dolls to sports equipment, balloons to books, and even something for the family dog.  There were (dicey looking) carnival rides and food stalls offering the usual bounty of street food and the traditional Rosca de Reyes.

And, that’s not all!  Early last night, there was a giant festival in the Plaza de la Danza, to entertain and distribute a kilometer of donated toys to disadvantaged children.  Stay tuned…

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