Epiphany, the 3 wise kings, and the start of 2014.

All comes together today Sunday 5 January 2014. Tomorrow we head back to work and our normal days of family life and work, and hopefully some spare moment to travel and see the world. I didn’t want to be too far from my blog, already missed you all.

Tomorrow is officially the celebration of the 3 Wise Kings, or Los 3 Reyes Magos or simply the Reyes Magos. From my Spanish Catholic tradition it is the day where we give our gifts to our children, as the Wise Kings gave it in honor of the new born child Jesus. Over the years my travels my nationalities I have mix all tradition where we do follow up with all .

Living now in France, as French, the day is not celebrated even if a Catholic country per se, we just do the galette des rois a frangipane of almond with a figurine Inside that according to leyend was the opportunity for role reversal as a Roman slave took the place of the emperor before he reigned for a day later was send to death. King Louis XIV was the first one in France who push for it, and the tradition flourished, where the person who gets the portion with the figurine in it, gets to be the kind or queen for the day and especially gifts are given. The cakes differed a bit from the north to the South of France, what we do today is usually call the Parisien version of the almond bake frangipane cake.

In my other country of Spain, we have the similar cake of Roscon de Reyes;as a cake to eat on these days, but the celebration is much bigger with parades of the Wise Kings with great beautiful décorations, and the gifts to our children Under the arbol de Navidad or the Christmas tree. Even thus this year due to the economy many cabalgatas or parades will be diminished curtailed from previous year, still even some neighborhoods are creating their own. In my Madrid, the route of the parade will begin at 18h30 at Nuevos Ministerios (corner with plaza San Juan de la Cruz square ) down the Paseo de la Castellana, and passing through the Plaza del Doctor Marañón, Glorieta de Emilio Castelar, Plaza de Colón and the Paseo de Recoletos, with arrival at 20h45  approximately to the Plaza de Cibeles, where King Melchior will read the message on behalf of the three Magi. After this at about  21h, there will be a fireworks show.

Basically the meaning ,and history  in Spain is like this

The Magi from the East (or simply Magi) is the name which according to tradition are the visitors who, after the birth of Jesús from Nazareth, came from foreign countries to pay tribute and give you rich symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Gospels speak only about «magicians», nowhere lists their names, which were Kings, nor were three (a number that is possibly due to the amount of offered gifts). These beliefs were added centuries later and have remained in the popular tradition.  According to Catholic belief, these Magi were representatives of «pagan» religions of neighbouring villages, which the Gospels come as the first fruits of the Nations that accept the Catholic religion.  In some countries (usually Spanish-speakers) there is the tradition of representing Kings bringing gifts that children have asked in his letters during the night before Epiphany.  The Magi, traditions in some countries, part of the crib next to Joseph, the baby Jesus and Mary.
The Catholic figure of the Magi has its origin in the accounts of the birth of Jesus, some were integrated from the canonical Gospels that now make up the new testament of the Bible. Specifically the Gospel of Matthew is the only biblical source which mentions a few magicians (though not specific names, the number or the title of Kings) who, following a so-called Star, looking for the «King of the Jews has been born» in Jerusalem, guiding them such a star to Jesus born in Bethlehem, and to whom offer offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  In that same apocryphal gospel it is said that they had any family link, and that also came with three legions of soldiers: one of Persia, Babylon and Asia.  According to subsequent interpretations, the wizards were considered to be originating in Europe, Asia, and Africa respectively . However, the last book written by the Pope Benedicto XVI on Nazareth Jesús, «Childhood of Jesus», notes that the Magi probably came from the East, as it has believed traditionally, but Tartessos, an area that historians located between Huelva, Cadiz and Seville (Andalusia, Spain). In this way, the wise men from the East have become Kings, and with them have come into the Manger camels and dromedaries, said  Benedict XVI and continues:”the promise contained in these texts extends the provenance of these men to the far West (Tarshish, Tartessos in Spain), but tradition has further developed this listing of the universality of the kingdoms of those sovereigns«, interpreting them as Kings of the three then-known continents: Africa, Asia and Europe “.

They represented all men seekers of God of all times and all places and that included everyone until then known and whose western boundary was Tartessos, in the Iberian peninsula”, he explains. Mention to Tartessos, Benedict XVI refers to this geographical limit that had the world in the first century  AD, «magicians are East but that God seekers men of God of all places and all times are represented in that concern by search». With regard to the names of Kings (Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar) the first references seem to date back to the 5C through two texts, the first entitled Excerpta latina barbari, which are called Gathaspa, Melichior and Bithisarea, and other apocryphal gospel, the Armenian Gospel of childhood, which are called Balthazar, Melkon and Gaspard.

There so even if I won’t be having my Roscon, I will definitevely eat my galette des rois. Happy Epiphany !!!

Madrid

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