Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Night of the Kings

In Spain, and some Latin American countries including Mexico, January 6th is called El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Kings).  That's the day the three kings: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar are said to have arrived in Bethlehem on horse, camel and elephant, bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. (Both frankincense and myrrh were highly sought after aromatic tree resins thought to have healing properties.) 


Night of the Kings parade on Isla

Most towns in Spain and Latin America arrange colorful parades on January 5th representing the arrival of the Reyes Magos to town so children can see before they go to bed.  Sweet wine, fruit and milk are left for the kings and their camels, similar to the milk and cookies my sisters and I left for Santa Claus and his eight reindeer to enjoy. 

On the eve of January 6th, Spanish and Latin America children frequently leave their clean shoes ready to receive the kings' presents. 

(We, on the other hand, put our dad's big woolen work socks at the foot of our beds on Christmas eve.)
Party for island kids in sports dome
Imagine our surprise when on January 9th, a Monday night, we discovered a massive island-wide kid's party just a few blocks from our house, celebrating the Night of the Kings!  The covered sports dome near the Donasusa grocery store, and behind the Naval Hospital was crammed to overflowing with kids. 

Kids on bouncy castles. Kids on slides. Kids inside what looked to be a wresting ring. And more kids falling off, into, or over every type of kid apparatus you could imagine.  The laughter volume was turned all the way up to the max! 


How many can we fit on this slide?

At one point while I was haphazardly shooting photos of the bedlam, I noticed a couple of little kids that we knew, about to be squished under the feet of several slightly older girls.  Happily, the older girls quickly reached down and pulled the younger ones out of the mess, handing them safely over the top of the inflatable slide to their grandparents.  And the laughter carried on!

Then as we continued walking up the street heading in the general direction of our house, we encountered the Night of the Kings parade.  There were three kings in the lead vehicle along with a political representative from the state, followed by another twenty or thirty decorated vehicles, golf carts, and motos.  Everyone had handfuls of candy to pitch towards the spectators.

Tossing candy!

(Amazing how quickly my sweetie could scramble after the tasty goat's milk toffee candies.) 

As we meandered our way home, several neighbours hailed us with greetings, requests that we come over and view their colourful Christmas decorations, or elaborate Nativity scenes.  It was a pretty great way to end our evening walk.


2 comments:

Ann said...

Looks like a fun time was had by all--love your new header photo. We'll be on the island in a few weeks; looking forward to taking many new photos! ( I always carry at least one camera with me!)

Lynda said...

Thanks Ann. I love photos! In my previous life (in Canada) I had 54 large photo albums, all labeled and captioned in chronlogical order. When we decided to move to Mexico I spent a month scanning many of our favourite photos into a screen saver for the computer. I now have 11,000 pics on this computer! Cheers Lynda