Sunday, January 6, 2013

los tres Santos Reyes


I grew up in Puerto Rico, where everyone celebrates los tres Reyes--today's feast of the Epiphany.

On the eve of the día de los Reyes, my brother and I would fill a shoe box with grass and a container with water and set it under the Christmas tree for the camels that would bring the Magi to our home that night. In the morning, the grass and water were gone, and in their place we would have gifts, just as the Magi brought gifts to Jesus in Bethlehem.

In Hispanic countries throughout the world, in fact, January 6 is the day that children receive their Christmas gifts, in commemoration of the Magi's visit.

In our own blended family (Cuban and Texan!), Michael and I seriously considered making January 6 our family's sole day for receiving gifts. Ultimately we opted to join in the Santa tradition of December 25, and in addition, to pass on the Puerto Rican style Epiphany celebration--with shoe box and grass, gifts, a special Epiphany meal, and of course, the traditional song de los tres Santos Reyes:


Tuna estudiantina de Cayey singing
 los tres Santos Reyes
(see lyrics below)



Los tres Santos Reyes, los tres y los tres, 
los tres Santos Reyes, los tres y los tres,
Los saludaremos con divina fe,
los saludaremos con divina fe.
Los tres santos Reyes, yo los sé contar,
Los tres santos Reyes, yo los sé contar,
Gaspar y Melchor y el Rey Baltazar.
Gaspar y Melchor y el Rey Baltazar.
Llegan con cautela, la Estrella los guía
Llegan con cautela, la Estrella los guía
se sientes sus pasos, en la noche fría
se sientes sus pasos, en la noche fría
Señores, adiós . . . doy la despedida
al corazón santo, dulce de María
Señores, adiós . . . doy la despedida
al corazón santo, dulce de María
Señores adiós porque ya nos vamos
Señores adiós porque ya nos vamos
todos los presentes pasen feliz año
todos los presentes pasen feliz año