M is for Magi ..
While children here are waiting excitedly for Santa Claus to arrive on Christmas Eve with presents, some children will expect gifts from the Magi, probably better known as the three wise men or the three kings. The word 'magi' (magus) is an ancient word referring to practitioners of astrology, alchemy and other esoteric knowledge. The most current use of the word is applied to the men who according to the gospel of Matthew visited the baby Jesus soon after his birth. Most of the details about the Magi are in an earlier post, featuring Caspar, one of the Magi. - Christmas Countdown Characters #3, so in this post, I will focus on the Hispanic tradition of "Dia de Reyes" (Day of the Kings) which honours these Christmas icons.
Twelve days after Christmas, the Epiphany, is called Three Kings Day which is celebrated in Latin America, Spain, and in Hispanic communities of the United States .Traditionally, there are special church services and children receive gifts on this day, from the three wise men , Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar.
"In the days preceding Three Kings Day, children write letters to the Magi requesting a toy or gift that they would like. On the night of January 5th, the figures of the Wise Men are placed in the nativity scene. In Mexico, children would traditionally leave out their shoes with a bit of hay in them to feed the camels of the Magi . When the children wake up in the morning, their gifts will have appeared in the place of the hay." (from http://tudecidesmedia.com)
There is no doubt that the Three Kings hold a significant place in the celebration of Christmas in the culture of Hispanic nations... even Disneyland holds a colourful and joyous festival day to celebrate Dia de Reyes
And here is some Christmas humour from an unknown source.
What would have happened if there had been three wise women instead of three wise men? They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought practical gifts.