Tag Archives: Spirituality

Project TEN: An Israeli-Mexican Partnership in Oaxaca – Part 2

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-12-47-47-pmBy Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

We recently traveled to the hills around Pluma Hidalgo to spend a couple of days with the Project TEN’s professional staff and young Jewish volunteers, primarily Israelis. In the February issue of The Eye, we reported on the important educational, medical, and public health services TEN was providing at the request of the village community members. In this issue we describe the work and life at the isolated TEN center. Continue reading Project TEN: An Israeli-Mexican Partnership in Oaxaca – Part 2

Day of the Holy Kings

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The Day of the Holy Kings is a Christian celebration when children in Mexico receive gifts from the three wise men.

Epiphany, also known as the Day of Holy Kings (Día de los Santos Reyes), is celebrated on January 6 in remembrance of the biblical story of the three kings’ visit to Jesus. Christians believe that three kings (or wise men) – Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar – visited the child Jesus and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This Epiphany story is celebrated in churches across Mexico and worldwide. Mexican children receive gifts from the three kings (reyes magos). Streets in major cities are packed with food stalls, gifts, and outdoor parties. It is also customary to eat Rosca de Reyes, which is a wreath-shaped fruity bread baked with a figure of baby Jesus inside.

The Day of the Holy Kings is a religious observance and not a federal public holiday in Mexico.

The person who finds the figurine of baby Jesus inside his or her share of the sweet bread, Rosca de Reyes, symbolically “becomes” Jesus’ godparent.

Las Posadas Mexico’s Christmas Tradition

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 8.55.10 AMBy Neal Erickson

Posada in Spanish can mean inn, lodging, shelter, boardinghouse, home, etc., depending on context. Traditionally in old Mexico, when people were traveling, at the end of the day they would seek a place to spend the night out of the elements. When no inns or hotels were available, travelers would seek “posada” in private homes, asking for their hospitality and kindness and sometimes receiving a meal with the resident family. Often they simply slept on the floor. As the population became converted to the Roman Catholic faith by the Spanish Conquistadors, a tradition developed based upon the Biblical story of Joseph and Mary arriving in Bethlehem on the eve of Jesus Christ’s birth. Continue reading Las Posadas Mexico’s Christmas Tradition

The Position of Church and State in North America

By Brooke Gazer

The “separation of church and state” refers to the official distancing between organized religion and the government. Of the three countries that comprise North America only one does not have a law that separates the two institutions. Some may be surprised to learn that the odd man out is Canada. The reasons that each country has their respective policies are historical and the way each deal with religious matters varies considerably. Continue reading The Position of Church and State in North America

11 Facts About World Religions

Religious discrimination might seem like a problem we’ve solved, but in countries across the world, including the US people are still persecuted and abused because of their religious beliefs. One way to fight religious discrimination is by fighting ignorance by learning about religious traditions outside your own. Here are 11 facts about religions practiced across the globe. Continue reading 11 Facts About World Religions

The Inquisition in Mexico

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 8.53.41 AMBy Jan Chaiken and Marcia Chaiken

December is the month of wonderful religious traditions throughout Mexico. Beautiful candle- lit posadas, glorious masses, families and friends gathering to celebrate Christmas and Chanukah, and a general sense of peace on earth. But in this darkest month of the year it is time to remember that beginning with the Spanish conquest, atrocities were committed against residents and settlers in Mexico in the name of religion. Continue reading The Inquisition in Mexico