A Butterfly and a Flower for a Birthday. And final celebrations on the birth of Jesus. Los Reyes Magos: The Night of the Visit of the Three Kings. 

Red Admiral on footpath to Galaroza, Vanessa Atlanta
Red Admiral on footpath to Galaroza, Vanessa Atlanta

This post is for my daughter Theodora. I cannot be with her on her birthday but can send this beautiful flower and a butterfly photo  from Southern Spain. So far the sun has shone and the red admiral came out of its hideaway and posed for us. I also bought this gazania to brighten up the rock garden and on looking up its name found it was named after Theodorus Gaza, in the 15 th Century.( On Wikipedia, and he translated Theophrastus on plants)

A popular garden flower; a gazania
A popular garden flower; a gazania

On one of those pregnant impulses I had decided to name my baby after the Saints day she or he would be born on. Luckily she decided against Jan 6 th and Epiphany and came on the day of St Theodosius. And are those days so long ago that we didn’t know or need to know the gender. So Theo sounded like a great idea at the time! But I was pushed to make it more feminine.

For the past two years I have missed her birthday as I had never been able to see the celebrations in Spain for the feast of the Kings. ( Joy of being a teacher and the Return to School) It all happens on the eve of Jan 6 th. Last year a friend came to stay and we visited the ‘big’ one in Higuera de la Sierra.  More in last year’s post. Los Reyes Magos in the Sierra Aracena. Feast of the Kings Processions.

Mary's mother waiting.
Mary’s mother waiting.

This year we went to Linares on the south side of the Sierra Aracena. Here they create scenes from the nativity story in their houses and gardens. Linares is a special village with cobblestone art work on the ground in front of many of the houses. This event is also very special and different from the processions.

I loved seeing inside some of the houses and also small stores, naves where animals would and still might be kept. It was very reminiscent of the closeness of village life over the centuries and miles to Bethlehem. Most of all I loved being able to see into the gardens and orchards. I am a little jealous because they can grow oranges on that side of the Sierra and we have to cope with chestnuts!

After this it was back to see our village procession. Although there may be many tourists here for the Los Reyes processions it is truly a local event. All the children of a village receive presents from the Three Wise Kings. First there is the procession led by the star. She must be the one who gets cold! She is followed by a variety of floats with different scenes, some biblical, some original. These may vary each year. The richness of the scenes shown really tell so many aspects of the Nativity.  The final three floats are for the three wise kings who bring gifts. Balls and sweets were thrown to the crowds watching and following.The irony of the sweets were ‘love bites’ made in Hyderabad, India, where we lived some years ago. Just for trade wars, there were also some made in Córdoba, Spain.

Here in our village it was charming and very much all the local people involved with small tractors pulling brightly decorated carts.

One thing that stood out were the smiles on everyone’s faces: children and adults.
Wishing Theo and everyone who reads my blog a very happy and peaceful 2017. And in 2018 and future years Theo, Josie, family and friends can visit the Sierra to see the wise men, women and children who create this event.

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31 thoughts on “A Butterfly and a Flower for a Birthday. And final celebrations on the birth of Jesus. Los Reyes Magos: The Night of the Visit of the Three Kings. ”

  1. Hi 🙂 Happy birthday to your daughter! And thank you for the story about names, butterflies, flowers, and smiles. 🙂 I am happy to see the butterfly and the flower and think of all that will arrive when the weather warms up here in a few months. The birds are keeping me company while I wait. 🙂 I often hear one of the neighboring chickadees when I go out of my door. A few weeks ago, one stopped on a small tree near the driveway and looked at me as if to say… “What? Do you think it is cold? I don’t!” and off he flew. 🙂 It is fascinating to see the photos of the places and the people. Imagine orange trees in the backyard!

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    1. Yes, I did think we had chosen the wrong side of the Sierra but it dies get very on the oranges side in the summer and a lot of water is needed. Yes, it was good to see all the smiles and the effort made by the participants.

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  2. What a lovely posting! I didn’t know about villages recreating the nativity story and your photos are really a nice way of illustrating what is done – they even have people portraying the star and Herod! Thank you for sharing this. And all the best to you and yours in the coming year!

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    1. Possibly but there are big cities nearby and lots of unemployment there and here too. I looked up tundra swans and they are the same species as the Bewick that winters in the UK from Russia. And very threatened, numbers are in decline. But hopefully the tundra ones on your side of the Arctic and Atlantic are not. Cygnus Columbianus.

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    1. Also in the UK. I think it is the left over of Puritan thinking and we must get all the decorations down on Jan 6 th and get back to work! The Spanish do too but finish the season with a grand finale!

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  3. What a delightful post! I didn’t know about this festival, lovely photos. It’s always a strange thing to me that despite visiting nearly all of Europe over these many years, I’ve yet to visit mainland Spain. I know I would love it. Meanwhile, I will enjoy reading about the customs, traditions and culture through your eyes. Happy New Year to you too, and to future family visits with your daughter – Theodora is a beautiful name 🙂

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  4. We were in the Algarve in early January and I was so thrilled with the nativity scenes this year. Have you been to the village Alferce, near Monchique? They had a fabullous presepio de natal, and Castro Marim had one constructed in salt. Beautiful! 🙂

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  5. I miss the Three Kings celebrations in Spain, so thank you for sharing this one from such a special place. I used to grow Gazanias in my garden there, I started with 5 different ones and by the time I left I had about 15 variations, they seem to cross-pollinate and self-seed very happily!

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