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.
© 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.