Puerto Rico’s Food, Traditions and More FELIZ DIA DE REYES


The young people then perform the traditional house blessing, by marking the year over the doorway with chalk. In Roman Catholic communities this may even today be a serious spiritual event with the priest present, but among Protestants it is more a tradition, and a part of the German notion of Gemütlichkeit. Usually on the Sunday following Epiphany, these donations are brought into churches. Here all of the children who have gone out as star singers, once again in their costumes, form a procession of sometimes dozens of wise men and stars. The German Chancellor and Parliament also receive a visit from the star singers at Epiphany. But my parents would leave our Christmas tree up until after Jan 6th in honor of the celebration.

Whoever recovers the cross is said to be blessed for a full year. Following the blessings, the celebration moves to the Sponge Docks where food and music are made part of the festivities. Tarpon Springs has given itself the nickname Epiphany City. The celebration attracts Greek Americans from across the country, and the city’s population is known to triple in size for that day. Epiphany is a public holiday in Sweden, where it is known as “trettondedag jul” (“Thirteenth Day Yule”), as January 6 is the thirteenth day after Christmas Eve, the main day on which Christmas is celebrated in Sweden.

While the entire island celebrates this holiday, the most renowned festivities are held in the southern town of Juana Díaz. For over 135 years, the town of Juana Díaz has celebrated this holiday with a festival and parade that gathers over 25,000 people. The main attraction during the festivities is the Three Kings riding on horseback, which are depicted by actors wearing colorful robes and thick beards.

It is a time for sanctification, which in Greece means expiation, purification of the people and protection against the influence of demons. This concept is certainly not strictly Christian, but has roots in ancient worship. In most parts of Greece a ritual called “small sanctification”, Protagiasi or “Enlightment” is practiced on the eve of Epiphany. The priest goes door to door with the cross and a branch of basil to “sanctify” or “brighten” the rooms by sprinkling them with holy water.

It is considered to be the original location of the Baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist and has been venerated as such since at least the Byzantine period. In the past the kings were chosen only from among high-caste families, but since 1946 the celebration has been open to all. Participation is still expensive as it involves getting a horse, costumes, and providing a lavish buffet to the community afterwards, in all totaling some 100,000 rupees (about US$2,250) per king. This is undertaken gladly since having son serve as a king is considered a great honor and a blessing on the family. Celebrations in Guadeloupe have a different feel from elsewhere in the world. Epiphany here does not mean the last day of Christmas celebrations, but rather the first day of Kannaval , which lasts until the evening before Ash Wednesday.

This festival is held on the 6th of January invariably, consequently is not a moveable feast, though the length of Epiphany-tide depends upon the date of Easter. Believing that on this day water becomes holy and is imbued with special powers, Russians cut holes called Iordan’ in the ice of lakes spanish oxtail recipe slow cooker and rivers, often in the shape of the cross, to bathe in the freezing water. This practice is said to be popularized comparatively recently; it was fairly uncommon in the czarist days, but has flourished since the 1990s. Peru shares Epiphany customs with Spain and the rest of Latin America.

Although the tradition began in medieval Europe, where the kings are shown riding camels, Puerto Rican images such as this one generally show them on horses. My Grandma who lived in Juarez, would host a Dia De la Candelaria fiesta ever year. She had a beautiful nativity scene set up, made with real pine trees and an almost life size baby Jesus. She would dress him and put a crown on his head. I only remember going to the celebration a few times, when I got older.

In France people share one of two types of king cake. In the northern half of France and Belgium the cake is called a galette des Rois, and is a round, flat, and golden cake made with flake pastry and often filled with frangipane, fruit, or chocolate. In the south, in Provence, and in the south-west, a crown-shaped cake or brioche filled with fruit called a gâteau des Rois is eaten. In Romandie, both types can be found though the latter is more common.