Three Kings Day in Mexico

Three Kings Day in Mexico

Today is a continuation of Christmas here in Mexico. On the church calendar, it’s epiphany. But in Mexico, it’s more commonly known as “El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos.”

It’s the day that the Magi arrived to visit baby Jesus. The “three wise men” even have names here: Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar. One of them rides a horse; the other rides a camel; and the other rides an elephant. Of course, they come bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

But for Mexican families, they come bearing presents for the children, too. On the 5th of January, the children write notes to the three kings (Los Tres Reyes) and tie them to helium balloons. Then, when they go to bed, they put their shoes under the Christmas tree (yes, it’s still up), and in the morning, they see what the Three Kings have left for them.

Many families go to the park downtown to get their picture taken with Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar like you would get your picture taken with Santa Claus.

Oh, and of course, there is the Rosca de Reyes, an oval sweetbread, decorated with candied fruit. Each person takes a turn to cut their piece of the bread. Inside the bread, little baby Jesus figurines are hidden. The person who gets the baby Jesus figurine has to host a party for their family and friends on February 2.

So while the rest of the world has moved on and packed away their Christmas things, we are still celebrating the birth of Jesus, thinking about the Magi, and having fun as a family. Happy Dia de los Reyes Magos.

(More information is available here)
(Photos by Christian Frausto Bernal on flickr)

Timing is Everything

Krispy Kreme Mexico

I got this email on Friday from Krispy Kreme in Mexico. It really goes to prove the differences in how Americans think about time and how Mexicans think about time.

The purpose of the email was to promote their “new” Christmas doughnuts. However, they sent the email the day after Christmas, and these doughnut styles have been in the stores for weeks now.

Latin American cultures do not think about time like we think about time in the United States. They are not time oriented, nor do they plan very far in advance. I’m generalizing here, but I have observed that, in Mexico, people are much more important than events.

The person who sent this email was probably busy with Christmas parties with friends and didn’t get around to sending the Merry Christmas email until after Christmas.

Either that, or they are really early for next year.

Christmas Day 2008

Christmas Day 2008

This Christmas was a lot better than last Christmas. Last year, Nathan was so sick for Christmas that he couldn’t hardly open his presents. This year, however, we got to wake up and have some family time before the craziness of the day.

He got lots of cool toys, including a Leapster (a kids’ educational video game system), some moon sand, a Bullseye horse and from the movie Toy Story (and a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head set), the game “Ants in Your Pants,” and other things.

We traveled home specifically to spend Ben’s first Christmas with our family (even though my sister lives in Las Vegas…miss you Christy). Since he’s only 5 months old, his presents were basically rattles and some clothes. But he liked them, I think.

Overall, it was a good day, especially for the kids.

Here are a few video slideshows from the day:

Pictures from the camera:

Pictures from my iPhone:

You can also see our flickr set from Christmas 2008.