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All About Mary

Puerto Rico

The following Nativities are each displayed in a unique permanent setting created by Marian Library Crèche Collection volunteers. The descriptive text for each was written by Father Johann Roten, S.M.


Three Kings from Puerto Rico
A Different Nativity
Aurelio Lorenzo Quiñones

Christmas is celebrated not only on December 25. A much older Christmas tradition identifies Christ’s coming into this world with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6. On this day, proclaims the liturgical tradition, the Son of Man revealed himself to the world. Among those from far away regions were the three Magi Kings. It is thus without surprise that some cultures, especially Latin cultures, identify more readily with the “Reyes Magos”, the Magi Kings. This is particularly true for Puerto Rico, where Nativity sets may find their full expression in the sole representation of the Three Kings. They are on horseback, frequently riding a brown, white, and black horse, and holding gifts in one hand. The figures are wood carved and painted, and they contrast with the sumptuously painted paper-maché kings of the Cuzco (Peru) tradition of Hilario Mendivil and his school. These Magi Kings have long necks and are of proud bearing, dwarfing by the same token horse, camel, and elephant. In this set, patterned on the artistic tradition of the Spanish hidalgo or gentleman of the Golden period, the Christchild of Atocha with the plumed hat asserts his authority as teacher and ruler over the wise men from the Orient.

– ML.0122.12

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