The New Year’s celebrations have ended and all is calm again in Mexico as it is the world-round. However, on January 6th; El Dia de Reyes or Epiphany as it is widely known in the Christian church calendar we commemorate when the three kings (also known as the Magi) visited Jesus bearing gifts.
El Dia de Reyes is traditionally when Mexican children receive their presents, which are brought by the three kings rather than Santa. On this day, it is also customary for friends, family members, or colleagues and coworkers to get together and share a Rosca de Reyes (King’s Wreath Cake/Bread); a sweet bread, the shape of which represents King Herod's crown, the dried and candied fruits that adorn the bread crown are said to symbolize the crowns of the Kings, while the traditional figurines baked into the bread represent Mary, Joseph & baby Jesus fleeing to Egypt to escape from Herod's attempts to kill all baby boys in the Massacre of the Innocents.
Whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine is blessed and must take the figurine to the nearest church on February 2 (Candlemas Day, Dia de la Candelaria). The holder of the baby Jesus is also expected to host a dinner providing traditional tamales and atole to the guests. Many people will also make huge pots of pozole to share with their neighbours on Candlemas on Feb 2nd.
The January Festival or "Fiesta de Enero," is a folk and religious festival featuring elaborate processions and dancing on the streets of Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas, Mexico. Locals celebrate in honour of Our Lord of Esquipulas & two patron Catholic Saints; Saint Anthony Abbot (January 17) and Saint Sebastian (January 20) by donning elaborate sculpted wooden masks and extravagantly traditional outfits fully equipped with headdresses, colorful ribbon adornments, embroidered shawls & tinplate rattles by the name of “chinchines”.
The festival as we see it celebrated in modern-day times is an interesting and unique combination of native ancestral traditions melded with the Catholic customs that were adopted during the colonial period. The Parachicos are led by the “Patron” who bears a mask with a severe expression and dons a guitar & a whip. He plays a flute accompanied by one or more drummers as he leads the Parachicos are a vital part of this traditional annual celebration that dates back several centuries and their customary dance is performed as they travel in procession throughout the town carrying holy images to a number of different sites including various churches within the town and the municipal cemetery as well as the homes of the priostes - the families who take custody of the religious images during the time between festivities. The dances that are performed during the festival, are seen as a communal offering to the saints.
Did you Know? The Parachicos, as well as the celebration in which they perform, were recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
Taxco literally comes alive with the loud and bright fireworks, dancing & other celebrations that occur during this annual Feast Day (on January 18th) commemorating the town’s patron saint: Santa Prisca. The festivities usually stretch out over a few days starting from the 17th January when animals are brought to the Iglesia de Santa Prisca on the edge of Plaza Borda to be blessed. On the days following, there are a myriad of concerts, shows, folk dances, and more evening firework displays that last long into the night.
Come and experience the magic of Catholic Mexico in January with Tours Peregrinos Mexico!