By 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
By Kary Vannice
I grew up going to the Community United Methodist Church. Mostly, because my mother made me. In my adulthood, I’ve chosen to reject most of the dogma of my youth. I no longer consider myself to be a “religious” person, but religion, in all its forms, continues to fascinate me. Continue reading Rattlesnakes and Scorpions
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.
By 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
By Jane Bauer
The fiesta of the Virgin of Juquila is one of the most important and with greatest following among the Catholic community of the State of Oaxaca, and even among the faithful of surrounding states like Puebla, Guerrero and Veracruz. Continue reading Virgin of Juquila
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
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
By Kary Vannice
Well here we are, one year after facing down the Aztec “End of the World”, December 21st, 2012. A year, that happened, and turned out to be not that much different than any other, generally speaking. Continue reading Winter Solstice
By 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
By Fr. William Saunders
The story begins in the early morning hours of December 9, 1531, when a 57-year-old Indian peasant named Juan Diego was walking along the path of Tepayec Hill on the outskirts of Mexico City. Continue reading Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady