The Mayhem called Guadalupe – Reyes Marathon

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Guadalupe Reyes

***WARNING*** This is a breakdown of events that some people take very seriously, like the 8 pound 6 oz baby Jesus story. If you are a highly strung Christian, read at your own risk. Seriously, this is potentially offensive as it starts off light and fun and then gets real non-Christian-y pretty quickly. Gracias.

The Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon is yet another fabulous example of Mexico’s religious, yet very festive culture. At some point in the 1990’s, enough like-minded Mexicans decided to rename the vacation period from December 12 (Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe) to January 6 (Day of the Three Wise Men or “Tres Reyes Magos”) as just one big long ass holiday with a mission. Both the beginning and the end of the marathon are deeply entrenched in Catholic / Christian annual milestones, but the attitude and antics that go on in between the two religious holidays are very much not so.

This fine group of fiesta goers are enjoying ‘Posadas Navideñas’. These 9 nightly parties occur right smack dab in the middle of Guadalupe – Reyes and are not easy to continue attending, unless you are Mexican who was born and raised for exactly this type of fiesta stamina. These amigos are enjoying their papel picado and piñata beating!

This period includes all 9 nights of Posadas Navideñas leading up to Christmas Eve, then Christmas, then New Years and finally 3 Kings Day which, linked together, create a “marathon” of festivities. During this period, the challenge is not only to attend every event, but to drink at least one type of alcoholic beverage every day. 🍹 This Marathon isn’t technically ‘legit’ Mexican Folklore; it is merely a pop-culture activity that is easier for some than others 🫠 💃 #fiestastamina

But Ron Burgundy explains it better…

Today Mexico celebrates the longest holiday in the world….Guadalupe – Reyes.
That’s 3 weeks of steadfast drinking and unyielding tomfoolery. Buckle up, amigos.  See ya in 3 weeks.”

As someone who loves a never ending party, I committed to this tradition years ago! However, today is January 3, 2024 and I am 51 years years old and I don’t think I am going to make it another 3 days to to the finish line which is El Dia de Reyes! John Travolta, as shown below, displays exactly how I felt on Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe versus I how I look and feel at this moment in time…

The Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon can put a person through many changes 😝💃 🍺 🥂 📅 👵🏻

Luckily I still look better than John in the Santa jumpsuit, but you get the drift. If you would like a full breakdown of the significance and traditions of El Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe, please refer to our previous blog post here… VIRGIN

This post is mostly to cover Three Kings Day so that we can tie the three week period together with a big ass bow…and then I can finally rest 😜!

Courtesy of Shutterstock – 3 Kings aka 3 Reyes aka 3 Magi

OK, ‘Los Tres Magos’, or ‘The 3 Wise Men’ or ‘Los Reyes’ are obviously part of the whole Christmas birth story of Jesus. What my Presbyterian minister mom never tied together for me as a young sermon-listening child is that according to the bible, these 3 dudes were not magically already at the manger like they are seen in our nativity scenes. In fact, biblical events apparently happened in this order:

  1. Jesus was born (although not technically on December 25, in fact it is more likely he was born in March or April, but Christians wanted to supersede pre-existing Pagan traditions and anyway, I digress).
  2. Three men (who were either actual kings or just liked riding around on their camels together) see a big bright star that night while in Nazareth, Israel.
  3. These yahoos perceive that the star was talking to them 😳 about how the REAL King of Kings 👑 was born in a town far away (Bethlehem, in current West Bank) and to go there on said camels to bring him gifts.
  4. It actually takes them approximately 7 days to get to Mary, Joseph and Jesus according to Nicole DePue (Jerusalem University College, Master’s degree in biblical history and geography). Now if you are like me, I always saw these guys in the manger scene and assumed they fast tracked it that night, but I guess MJJ just hung around and waited 7-ish days for them to arrive 🤷‍♀️ 🤪 I hope frankincense and myrrh were worth the wait ⏰ !
  5. The day the 3 Amigos arrive is called 3 Kings Day here in Mexico, but is more known in most Christian denominations as ‘Epiphany’.
  6. 2024-ish years go by and in Mexico, this day becomes the BIG SCOREBOARD DAY for Christmas presents for the kids. This is a gift-giving day more sacred than Santa’s arrival Christmas morning. Homes do not take down holiday decorations until after this day and stores do not have post – Christmas clearance sales until January 7. The End.

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You may have done some math in your head and realized that if it took the Three Kings approximately 7 days between star-gazing and gift delivery service that our Master’s Degree friend Nicole researched, then why are we celebrating Epiphany/3 Kings Day on the 12th day after Christmas?

12 Days of Christmas and Advent are totally different, but there are so many damn Christmas related holidays that it’s too confusing to understand the difference.

I am not prepared for the research on that, BUT this 12 day period of time is the famous 12 Days of Christmas! Once again, Minister Mom gave me the impression that the 12 Days of Christmas were part of the lead up BEFORE Christmas that I came to assume were the reason for Posadas Navideñas! #toomanyholidaystoolittletime #blessedbethyliver

So to be clear,

  1. Posadas represent the 9 days and nights that Mary and Joseph travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem (she was slow in her 3rd trimester after all)
  2. Epiphany is the same as 3 Kings Day and it is 12 days after Christmas
  3. In reality, it only took the Kings 1 week to get to Jesus, but Christians chose the ’12 Days of Christmas’ instead – Not to be confused with Advent 🤷‍♀️
  4. Dia de Reyes/Epiphany is the beginning of the pre-fast period before ‘Lent’ which winds us into yet another holiday…CARNAVAL / Mardi Gras!
  5. You thought I was going to say Easter or some shit 🤪
Rosca de Reyes cake on left and Kings Cake – both baby Jesus filled and eaten at the same time and for the same reason. Both photos courtesy of Shutterstock

Celebrating the Day itself: Every January 6th, Mexicans celebrate Epiphany/Dia de Reyes with a Kings cake – similar to our Mardi Gras Kings cake with a tiny plastic baby inside, however this cake is called La Rosca de Reyes. Same idea, different toppings, same baby Jesus…and whoever cuts a piece of this Rosca de Reyes and gets the baby in their slice, are the ones who have to provide the tamales for everyone on yet another holiday called…Candlemas Day, February 2, a day that celebrates the Virgin Mary….and tamales 🫔

Do you see how the festivities go on and on down here?! Full circle party back to the Virgin, yo. That may or may not be another blog post, but suffice to say, as much attention as these 3 Wise Crackers get, the Virgin Mother gets even more. Now if only the 3 wise men had been women…

It’s funny cuz it’s true. Courtesy of FaceBook page Forgotten Ireland with a mere 530K likes • 641K followers 😮 🇮🇪

All things Virgin and 3 Kings are appreciated throughout this season and up to February 2nd! So stock up today on our Virgen de Guadalupe (- Reyes 😉) papel picado 2packs! They are green, white and red and can be used throughout the marathon and then brought back out for Mexican Independence Day in September! #omganotherholiday

Virgin of Guadalupe Papel Picado Mexicano
2Pack of Tri-Colored Handmade Paper Papel Picado La Virgen de Guadalupe Available here!

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IN CONCLUSION: my liver is killing me, my under eye skin is more crepey than ever and I still have 3 more nights to go. I hope everyone gets the chance to celebrate this season like a Mexican once in their lives and my advice is to do it before you are 51! Gracias and thanks and Happy New Year!