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Día de los Reyes and Disney dollars

Photo by Getty Images

If there’s an attack on Christmas, it’s not coming from the secularists, but from the commercialists:

“Los Tres Reyes Magos is going to Disneyland.

The California theme park is going all out for the Christian holiday celebrated by Latinos in the U.S. and Latin America.

The holiday — also known as Twelfth Night or Feast of the Epiphany — takes place Jan. 6, ending the 12 days of Christmas. Many Hispanic communities in the U.S. celebrate Three Kings Day with parades and performances depicting the Biblical story of three kings following a star to find the baby Jesus, bringing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. …

The park will host Three Kings Day on Jan. 4 to 6 at the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Disneyland’s Frontierland. There will be Mexican folklorico dancing, mariachi musicians, photo ops with Disney characters and bilingual hosts offering face painting, crown making and other children’s activities. Food carts will serve sweet corn tamales, chimichangas, Mexican hot chocolate and king cake, which is a round, sweet, doughy cake called rosca de reyes (king’s ring).

‘I love the fact that Disney is doing this,’ said Evette Rios, a correspondent with ABC’s ‘The Chew,’ who grew up celebrating Three Kings Day with her Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, N.Y. ‘It means a lot. This is the changing face of America. We are becoming more open to different holidays and traditions. I don’t have a homogenous view of what America is and I’m glad Disney doesn’t either.’ “

Is there anything not for sale in this country? Is nothing sacred?

As Americans, Latinos share a deep respect for the separation of church and state. But shouldn’t Christian Latinos also demand a separation of church and the free market? Heck, I’m an atheist, but even I know enough of the Good Book and J.C. to know it’s wrong to commercialize faith and religious observance.

It’s ironic enough that the birthday of Jesus — the man who famously condemned rich men and money-changers — has become the biggest money-changing holiday of the whole God-forsaken year. Jesus is also the same Son of Man who urged his followers not worry about what they will eat or what they will wear, so I’d venture to believe he wouldn’t want them worrying about where they’re going to celebrate Día de los Reyes.

And about Disney’s plans as a sign of America being “more open to different holidays and traditions,” slow down. As Disneyland spokeswoman Michele Himmelberg said herself, Disney merely “launched the Three Kings Day celebration last year as a test. It was a big success, particularly with the Hispanic community, and we’re expanding it this year to a larger area.”

Translation: Disney did a little research and discovered they could make big bucks in January off an age-old religious tradition. How inclusive of you, Mr. Mouse.

As yet, Disney has no plans for an Eid al-Fitr celebration for the Muslim holiday next year. I guess the company’s inclusiveness has its limits.

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007, YoungObservers.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. Sorry but most, not all, holidays (yes “holy-days) we celebrate are just that. I applaude Disney.

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