Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dia de los Reyes

My friend Papoletto is one of the three kings every year in the procession through East Harlem that commemorates the Christmas holiday in Puerto Rican tradition. This is from the New York Times in 1998: "Papoleto Melendez, resplendent in gold turban and furry white boots as King Gaspar, found hope in the smiling face of each child he encountered on the street. He rushed to the sidelines to greet them, slapping joyous high-fives. Not exactly kingly, but then again, he also wore dreadlocks. (''Hey, one of the kings came from Africa, right?'')

''The Magi went to the manger to see the baby Christ,'' said Mr. Melendez, who is a poet and playwright. ''In modern times, all these children are the new Christ. Each one is the future. They all have the power to change the world. They have to take it. You know, that carpe diem thing.'
I never knew what a big deal the three kings were until I went to the art museum in San Juan. There I found a tremendous collection of art about "Los Reyes": prints, sculptures and puppets. This one includes the star.

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