Three Kings Celebration
As we open a new year, the Pueblos recognize the celebration of the Three Kings along with the institution of newly elected officials. This is a celebration held on many Pueblos in recognition of the gifts given to baby Jesus in Bethlehem. In the Pueblos, we take this time to show gratitude for the gifts from our creator, especially that of our sovereignty. The new year brings in newly elected officials on many of the Pueblos. We celebrate our rights to existence and pray of blessings to be upon our people, especially our new leadership.
King’s Day Commemoration
Acknowledgement of Our Pueblo Sovereignty Presentation by Jon Ghahate (Laguna/Zuni) IPCC Museum Cultural Educator
By Acoma Buffalo Dance Group
From the earliest of recorded times, the measurement of “time” has been perceived as a linear, church-influenced, construct. So much so that there have been numerous adaptations and revisions. Often times, these changes were driven by who was the head of the Catholic Church or what authoritarian monarch was in power.
This is in significant contrast to how time was perceived by a majority of Indigenous civilizations in the Western Hemisphere, prior to European contact in 1492. Time was a cyclical event, a season-centered, celestial-based concept. Only a few Indigenous cultures had individuals who observed and recorded these events and developed some form of a calendar. As it turns out, the Mayan and Aztec calendars are much more accurate than the current Gregorian calendar, as well as the Julian calendar—which it replaced—because Catholic Church leaders condemned it because it interfered with when Easter was to be celebrated.
The celebration of King’s Day, the 12th day after Christmas, is a day identified by the Catholic Church, when the Magi, the Three Wise Men, completed their journey to recognize the birth of Jesus. As a teaching of the Catholic Church, it is a tenet that is a way of paying homage to Jesus, a sign of his baptism.
With the incursion of the Spanish into the Western Hemisphere and the forced conversion of the Catholic religion among the Indigenous peoples, celebrations such as King’s Day, which in 2020 falls on January 6th, has become an important day of commemorating, predominantly among Catholics in the Western Hemisphere.
Hybridized in contemporary times, our Pueblo ceremonies blended with Catholic ceremonies due to the longevity of the Catholic Church’s influence, along with adaptation and accommodation of Pueblo communities.
The commemoration of King’s Day today, is now coupled with the change in Pueblo tribal governance and leadership. And so, at this time, many of our Pueblo communities celebrate the transition into the newly elected Pueblo leadership, along with King’s Day, with traditional cultural dances in many of our Pueblo communities. This adaptation, a means of resiliency, is a way Pueblo communities have ensured the continuance of Pueblo cultures and heritage.