Letter from the Editor | Holding off putting away the tree

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

While many of us are putting away our Christmas trees the day after Christmas  — a day also known as Boxing Day — some are leaving them up a little while longer.

One tradition calls for leaving the tree up until January 5 — the 12th night of Christmas. Or some wait a day longer and take the tree down on January 6, also known as the day of the Epiphany.

The Epiphany, commonly called Three Kings’ Day, marks the final day of Christmas and the biblical adoration of baby Jesus by the three Kings, also referred to as three Wise Men or Magi. The three men who followed a star on a 12-day journey across the desert to Bethlehem.

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The three men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There have been different reasons as to why these three gifts were brought. An article I read in “The Huffington Post” said the gold was symbolic of Jesus’ royal standing a “King of the Jews” and the frankincense manifests the divine nature of the baby’s existence not as an earthly king but the Son of God. the myrrh — which was used to embalm corpses — is said to represent mortality and foreshadow Jesus’ death.

These items were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world, according to the Biblical Archaeology Society. Gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense and myrrh as anointing oil. An article in “Bible History Daily” mentions research conducted by Cardiff University in Wales suggests that the gifts had a more medicinal use. The research demonstrated that frankincense has an active ingredient that can help relieve arthritis. Whether the gifts were for tribute or for healing, they made their mark on a historic day.

Three Kings’ Day celebrations vary throughout the different cultures. In Mexico, a mile-long “Rosca de Reyes” — or Kings Bread — draws thousands of eager participants.

In some households, Three Kings’ Day is the day the children get to unwrap gifts.

The holiday also has a tradition that leads into another holiday. The host of a party will hide a baby Jesus figurine within some baked bread, and the person whose slice has the figurine must prepare food for everyone on “Dia de la Candelaria” or Feast of Candelaria, on Feb. 2.

Normally, I take my tree down the day after Christmas, but this year I decided to wait until Three Kings’ Day, just to break my old tradition and sample a new one.