January 6 – Three Kings’ Day Feast

January 6 – Three Kings’ Day Feast January 6, 2015
Three Kings' Day float photo by Lilith Dorsey. All rights reserved.
Three Kings’ Day float photo by Lilith Dorsey. All rights reserved.

Cultural appropriation is a very hot topic of late. People want to explore, understand, and enjoy other cultures. This, however, must be done respectfully. Pagans like to rightfully point out how history has shown that the Catholic Church and other organized religions have frequently appropriated traditional Pagan holidays and celebrations. The feast of the Three Kings is a celebration that many have, in a reversal of fortune, taken back from the Christians.

The religion of La Regla Lucumi, more commonly known as Santeria, has a long history of syncretism that is confusing to most. Some practitioners remain devout Catholics while carrying out their practices, and others just use the symbols of the religion. This is because that’s what their ancestors were required to do during colonialism and slavery. In my experience those in the tradition have little problem with the crossovers. These people salute the Ashe, or universal life force present in all things. St. Michael is saluted as a representation of Ogun, the Ashe of the warrior, a champion of the oppressed, and a soldier fighting evil… they are all viewed as the same. The feast of the Three Kings is no different, it is an opportunity for celebration and change.

Rosca de Reyes photo by Lilith Dorsey 2014. All rights reserved.
Rosca de Reyes photo by Lilith Dorsey 2014. All rights reserved.

Many communities around the globe celebrate the three kings, there is even a three day extravaganza at Disneyland. My hometown of New York City is no different and the celebration here is truly fitting for kings. The streets are lined with camels, sheep, and hundreds of school children wearing homemade crowns. The botanicas, or spiritual supply houses, in Spanish Harlem light candles, sell incense, and perform ceremonies for the Three Kings, or Wise Men ( Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar,) who finally made it to the Christ Child on January 6 to deliver their gifts. The sacred gifts were Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. In the Lucumi (Santeria) tradition the feast is a celebration of great fortune. Many people refer to the day as the Feast of the Epiphany, and it is a time for facilitating your own epiphanies. It is a salute to those pivotal moments in life when everything can change in an instant. You can speed this process along and celebrate by making Three Kings Oil.

Another wonderful way to celebrate is with food. On this day Food offerings are made of Kings’ Bread or Rosca de Reyes, tamales, spicy tortilla soup, and Mexican-style Hot Chocolate.

 

First attempt at pouring hot chocolate photo by christopher cornelius. Licensed under CC 2.0
First attempt at pouring hot chocolate  by christopher cornelius. Licensed under CC 2.0

Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

– This is a ritual recipe designed to brings profound blessings of fortune and speedy change. Drink it today and be sure to leave out a cup for your ancestors, including Abuelita.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Vanilla bean

3 cups Milk

1 cup Light Cream

1/3 cup grated dark chocolate

1 tablespoon Sugar

4 cinnamon sticks

dash Chili powder

 

Warm milk and cream in a saucepan over very low heat. Add chocolate, vanilla bean, sugar, cinnamon sticks and chili powder. Stir frequently with a whisk as chocolate begins to melt. Cook for 10-15 minutes until all ingredients are combined. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Reheat before serving. Enjoy ! For more ritual recipes please be sure to check out my African-American Ritual Cookbook.

 

Many blessings to you this Three Kings Day !

 

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