Tag Archives: mary

Baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men

Category: Legend/Myth (Myth as it’s sacred to Christianity, but is part of the legend of Jesus)


Jesus, the king of Christians, brought Christianity into the world with himself. His mother, Mary, birthed him in a manger and shortly after three wise kings came and gave presents to Mary and baby Jesus as they recognized his future immediately as they are guided by the brightest star.

*for more details read the script below

Context: L is my mom and she taught at a Sunday school that I also attended when I was young. L was born in Mexicali, Mexico and moved the US with her family when she was little. She knows this origin story of Christianity / birth of Jesus from multiple sources: from her parents, from her church, from her peers, from her Sunday school, etc. She sees this story as a beginning of new world order since Christianity with Jesus have just been introduced to the world.

Interpretation: Jesus is the son to the Holy Trinity. Considering the story of Jesus is a huge aspect to Christianity, I’d say this story is sacred enough to be considered a myth. Telling this story shows that the narrator believes in Christianity. The kind house owner show the importance of kindness and hospitality to those of the religion, and so do the wise men with presents. The three men’s wisdom and actions also show the importance of wisdom through reading people and situations well and being prepared by acting upon those readings.


Me: Yeah, so like what do you think is the most fundamental story in Christianity?

L: Well I’m going to respond to this going back to when I was a Sunday school teacher and around Christmas time, you know how you got to decorate Christmas trees you and put presents under the tree? Well part of Sunday school teaching was this, not side story but leading up to it was the story of the three wise men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus in the manger. So basically the story goes is that Mary, who just had the baby, was looking for a place to rest and they had to go knocking on a bunch of doors, because they had no place to rest, and someone who was very kind opened up and said, ‘I have no room here in the house but I do have this place outside.’ Let’s call it a barn. Right, so, and what they did was they arranged the baby as best they could inside of the manger outside. And there was the three wise men. The three wise men knew that the baby had been born and there was going to be a new king: a king to the Christians. And so the three wise men set out and they said-the myth has it that they went looking, you know, they were guided by this bright light, the brightest light they could see in the sky and that led them to the baby Jesus. And it’s the three wise men who bring you know-the myth and the I forget what it is- 3 so… the three wise men bring these three presents to this, you know, baby who’s not even inside a house, who’s out, you know, in in the elements, who looks like any other poor, I mean even beyond poor, you know, child. Yet these three wise men, and that’s why they’re called wise men, recognize even as the baby Jesus was an infant that he was the king. And that’s why it’s central to Christianity because even as a baby he was recognized, it was known, that he was going to bring in what we now consider Christianity, the thought of you not only having God and the Holy Spirit but that you have Jesus and that’s why you have the Trinity: the father, son, and the Holy Ghost. So that is what I think would be a, some people call it a myth, especially those who are not Christians will say, ‘oh you know that’s that’s a myth.’ That’s our story. So it’s the three wise men and the baby out in the manger. That’s all.

Me: And then where’d you hear it from?

L: Well I taught this as part of Sunday school. I don’t know if you remember, we would always color stuff right? And one of the animals that was always out there would be a lamb among them because that’s the sign of a new world order and you’re outside. But I grew up knowing this because, do you remember that I used to go to Sunday school on my own and then I went to catechism and my parents brought me up. And do you remember your sister’s godmother, [Z]?

Me: Yeah.

L: So she knew the whole story. So I grew up with this from my peers and my parents so this has been going on for generations now.

Me: So your parents taught you the story?

L: My parents and my Sunday school, my church.

Me: Ok, that makes sense.

L: So it’s from my generation of Sunday school teachers, right? And peers to now your generation of attending Sunday school.

Me: Ok. Gracias.

Posada Parade-The Inns: Mexican Festival/Holiday


Me: “Do you have any festivals that you participate in?”

CC: “Yes, this is like a mix between a festival and a holiday, it’s called Las Posadas. In my Mexican culture, we celebrate from December 16 through Christmas Eve. Every day, a different household hosts and we usually eat tamales and hot chocolate. This 9 day celebration is seen as a traditional religious celebration that honors the birth of baby Jesus. My family dresses up in costumes that signify Jesus, Mother Mary, and Joseph. We parade around the neighborhood while singing Catholic songs, saying prayers, and basically re-telling the story of how Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay.”

Me: “Can you explain the costumes you guys wear?”

CC: “Sure, since there are only three main characters, the younger kids in my family are usually the ones that portray Mary, Jesus, and Joseph. The rest of us dress up as angels or simply just carry a candle as we walk during night time. My grandma actually hand sewed these costumes and they are used every year, I actually don’t know how old these costumes are. As we parade around the neighborhood, it’s a good reminder of what Mary went through and it’s a time where my family and I can appreciate the comfort of a warm home to go to at night.”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-CC’s relationship with this festival/holiday stems from her traditional Catholic Mexican household and childhood. Given that this 9 day long festival is celebrated every year, CC has been able to appreciate this practice differently all her life considering it is uniquely performed by her family; as seen within the custom made costumes and the comfort of each household. CC heard about this festival/holiday from her dad’s side of the family, considering they are the only ones that celebrate these daily festivities despite the fact that CC’s mom is also of Mexican descent. CC grew up being exposed to Las Posadas only from her dad’s side of the family as they tend to be more religious and are adamant about continuing the festival/holiday. CC interprets this holiday/festival as a religious experience that can bring one’s community closer together as it’s a reminder of the importance of family, stability, having a roof over your head, and faith during the holiday season.

Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

-The cultural values within Las Posadas stems from a sense of community and lifestyle values that are implemented within a typical Catholic Mexican household. Not to mention, this festival/holiday can also be seen celebrated in Honduras, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and other Latin American countries. The personal values that are expressed within this 9 day long festival celebration is exemplified by the religious and spiritual beliefs of an individual and within one’s household. Considering this holiday is slowly disappearing as it is not celebrated as much, it takes a strong religious household to carry on this tradition and to evoke the importance of re-telling the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. I interpret this festival/holiday as a unique story-telling practice that evokes awareness, community, and faith. I see the concept of Las Posadas as a way to teach the younger generation about the story of the birth of Jesus and as a way to increase spiritual faith within a family. Considering I only celebrate this holiday/festival with my great-grandmother (from my dad’s side of the family), I have learned to appreciate the idea that older, more religious individuals are trying to carry on such a unique festivity that is filled with love, food, family, and valuable life stories. The concept of a potloch can be seen within Las Posadas since it is typical to see each family cater to the community/household by bringing different food items and drinks to enjoy throughout the parade. A similar holiday that can be seen in correlation to Las Posadas is Easter Sunday within American culture. The idea of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus during a storytelling church service indicates the similar qualities of Los Posadas given the religious, community, and spiritual values that are evident within both holidays. 

“Hail Holy Queen, please let this light turn green”

Text: “Hail Holy Queen, please let this light turn green”

Background: A is an American catholic who is very devout and prayerful in her daily life. She often incorporates prayer into everyday tasks, even when driving her car to the grocery store.

Context: A says this little prayer every time she’s late, gets stuck at a pesky red light, and is desperately trying to get to her destination on time. She believes that it’s a grounding and wholesome little prayer that helps her regain patience, but also calls upon the Holy Mother (Mary) to enact her wish.

Analysis: This little short prayer demonstrates how many Christians like to call upon God or religious icons to help them through their every day lives. For a Catholic like A, calling upon Mary demonstrates the role that Jesus’s mother plays in the Catholic faith tradition. Although not worshipping or praying to her as a divine being, Catholics call upon Mary as a guiding force and role model. This directly contrasts the traditions of Protestant faiths, who do not view Mary in a similar light, but as a humble woman and historical figure in the Biblical epic. Therefore, they would not call upon her guidance in such moments throughout the day. A’s little prayer, like most Catholic prayers, highlights the importance of biblical icons, like Mary, to the faith tradition.

Alchemy in Catholicism and Mother Mary

This conversation was held between the informant and myself. The informant shall be named GG and I will be MH. 

GG: So in catholicism there is a belief that if Our Mother [Mother Mary] blesses you, or God, your rosary bead chain will go from silver to gold. And in Medjugorje, in the Herzegovina area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is a hill where it is believed Mary will visit and deliver messages to a family that lives at the base of the hill and that those who pray there will have their prayers heard and where there are multiple accounts of the silver rosary chains turning gold. 

MH: When you went did your rosary beads change from silver to gold? 

GG: I wouldn’t know as mine had already turned gold long before I went there. 

MH: Wait, what?! 

GG: Yes. When Jennifer [the informant’s youngest daughter] died, she had this rosary on her. It was gifted to her by myself at Grace’s[the informant’s mother-in-law who is long passed] funeral because Jennifer had forgotten hers at home so I gave her the beads I had on me. After I received the phone call from the police that she had been brought to the hospital dead I went to go retrieve her belongings they had pulled from the crash. When I found the rosary in the bag of things, I saw it had turned gold. And in the worst moment of any parent’s life, there was this tiny moment where I knew Jennifer was with Grace in heaven and that it would be ok. 


The informant is my grandmother, she is Italian Catholic and deeply spiritual. She was raised by only ever going to Catholic school and lives her daily life with religion and spirituality and God always in mind. She went to Medjugorje in 2018 on a pilgrimage to meet this woman who is believed to speak directly to Mary. 


My grandmother and I were having a conversation about the paranormal in religion and how much of a role it plays in the modern world. It was a casual conversation over a glass of wine at her house. 

My thoughts: 

I don’t know where I stand in the belief of alchemy, silver turning to gold. But the fact that she experienced this phenomenon is intriguing to me. There are possibilities of debunking the myth such as many silver chains are actually made of brass and coated in silver so eventually the silver will wear off and leave a gold-ish brass, a person could also take the newly formed gold chain to the jeweler and have them inspect the quality of the gold to see if it is real. But there is also no way to say these paranormal and spiritual events aren’t real. 


I interviewed my informant, Brianna, in the study lounge of the band office. Because of her upbringing in Mexican culture, she was able and eager to share a lot of folklore and folk traditions. One thing she wanted me to document was Posadas, which she learned about from her grandmother and her mother. The following is the information she shared with me during the interview:


Posadas are special events leading up to Christmas. It’s a movement of the community or church that happened once a week a few weeks leading up Christmas day. The community members follow someone dressed as Mary and Joseph to someone’s home. The home welcomes them in, and they have a big party.


My informant made sure to note that in her mother’s village, they put the woman portraying Mary on a live donkey for added effect.


She used to do it in her neighborhood back home (San Siro, San Luis Potosi). Everyone was invited for food and a party. A portion of the people were invited early for food, usually close friends and family. Then the whole town is invited after the dinner for the party and music.


This all leads up to Christmas day. On Christmas, everyone celebrates at home — which is where everyone celebrates the birth of Jesus. A certain ritual also involves putting a doll figure of baby Jesus in a manger. My informant noted that her grandmothers was 10X bigger than the other dolls because it’s the most important thing in the display.


I asked my informant if she had any other thoughts, to which she responded: “The first time I did it, I was in Mexico, so it was pretty wild.”



I have never heard of such extravagant pageantry to celebrate the Christmas season. This festival in particular is very important because it brings the community together and affirms their identity. It’s unclear whether everyone partakes in the celebration because they are Christian, or just because they are part of the community. Regardless, Posadas is obviously a very important annual event that encourages synthesis through performance.