The Three Wise Kings Day or Epiphany in Antigua Guatemala

Rudy Giron: AntiguaDailyPhoto.com &emdash; The Three Wise Kings from San Pedro Las Huertas, Antigua Guatemala

Unlike other catholic countries, Guatemala does not make a big deal of the arrival of the Tres Reyes Magos (Three Wise Kings) known as Epiphany in English; a Christian holiday celebrated on January 6th. Except, of course, for burning firecrackers and ringing bells of the churches right at noon, which seems to be Guatemalans’ favorite way of announcing or marking a holiday or event.

In Christian tradition the Magi (Greek: μάγοι, magoi), Three Wise Men, Three Kings or Kings from the East are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts. They are mentioned only in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 2) , which says that they came “from the east to Jerusalem” to worship the Christ, “born King of the Jews”. (Source: Wikipedia.org)

In other Spanish-speaking countries, Christmas gifts and presents are given on Dí­a de los Reyes and not on Christmas Eve or even Christmas. In some countries, children receive presents on both occasions, but in Guatemala Christmas Eve is the designated date for children to receive their presents.

Also, for many people, Dí­a de los Reyes marks the end of the Christmas season, although around Antigua Guatemala, many people keep their Nacimientos and Christmas decorations until February 2nd, Dí­a de la Candelaria (Candlemas), which incidentally is Groundhog Day in the United States. The day after February 2nd the Christmas lights around Antigua’s Main Plaza will be pick up and put away.

Rudy Giron: AntiguaDailyPhoto.com &emdash; The procession of the Three Wise Kings from San Pedro Las Huertas, Antigua Guatemala

© 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Tom de NY

    “Except, of course, for burning firecrackers…which seems to be Guatemalans’ favorite way of announcing or marking a holiday or event.”

    Ah yes– how could I ever forget those birthday firecrackers going off at midnight..!

    • Hahaha, that’s right I have forgotten to mention the firecrackers at birthdays. 🙁

      • Tom de NY

        The funny (or not so funny) thing is that in the neighborhood where I was staying, nearly every day in February was someone’s birthday! So of course every morning my cheery hosts and teachers would ask me if I’d had a good night and slept well! Digamos fue un ejemplo de culture shock…

        • That’s right Tom; culture shock is a very good definition.

  • El Canche

    Probably, the Kings were Astronomers from Persia and beyond who would have been noble figures close to royal level. It is also likely a group the size of a military company (200+) went with them, both to protect, feed and equip them on the journey as well as protecting the gifts themselves; gold for KINGSHIP, frankincense symbolizing PRAYER and myrrh representing DEATH (an annointing oil), prophecying the route the life of Jesus would take. Had Jesus been born in Guatemala, there would have been so many firworks set off, the Magi would not have been able to clearly identify the “Star of Bethlehem” and they would never have found Him!

    • Oh yeah, The fireworks could have posed some problems at the moment of identifying the star. Humorous; that was pretty good Canche.

  • Erick!

    If my childhood memory serves me correctly, my mom and dad would wait until February 2nd to take down the Christmas tree and get rid of the nacimiento. I think most people in our neighborhood did, but this was back in the 80s, not sure if people still wait that long anymore.

    • Many people still keep their Christmas decoration until Feb. 2 in and around Antigua Guatemala.

      Enviado desde mi iPhone

      El 7/01/2013, a las 11:19, Disqus escribió:
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