The festival of the Three Kings is one of San Clemente’s largest festivals of the year. We have been able to witness four of these festivals and have written about those in earlier posts. For more details see:
Rather than re-hash details that were explained in these earlier posts we will quickly say here that the festival is generally celebrated about twelve days after Christmas which is the traditional time believed to be when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem in search of the baby Jesus. But, since the twelfth night after Christmas fell on a Tuesday and followed so closely after the town’s big New Year’s Eve party, the powers that be determined to wait until Saturday, January 17th to hold the festival in San Clemente this year.
In many areas the festival is a very religious affair with scripture recitation and priests officiating. But here in San Clemente, it is mostly another big community dance and festival.
A huge stage is set up at the end of the roadway near the beach access. A band was on stage to provide amplified music to the festivities.
An ex-pat new to the area tapped me on the shoulder and asked if it was possible that all of these people were really from San Clemente? Our small town turns into a mob scene as people from the city and surrounding towns flood into the downtown area to join in the fun!
One of the things that I especially enjoy seeing are the various vendors who set up stands and grills selling all kinds of food. Here are some photos showing some of those vendors.
I got a batch of “salchipapas” and joined the crowd as we got more and more anxious for the parade to arrive.
We still had the traditional fire on the mountain east of town and a procession of young men carrying torches down the hill to where they meet up with men in costume “riding” camels. A large lighted star is carried by one young man and he is followed from the edge of town to the downtown area by a procession of people acting as Mary and Joseph, shepherds, Santa Claus, a satanic figure(?), and the three wise men on camels. Various other people in all manner of costumes are in the throng mostly there to throw candy and small bags of cookies and treats to the hundreds of children and adults lining the street.
Once in town the official in charge tries to conduct a program of sorts where the wise men deliver their gifts to Mary and Joseph, but shortly after that a fire truck load of men dressed up as women arrive and proceed to run around doing rowdy dances! Eventually the townspeople all settle down to a night of dancing and celebration.
There were more than enough young people who wanted to help throw the candy and treats to the crowds so this year I went and rejoined Mary downtown to watch the procession. Still photos at night are too blurry so we have included two short video clips. The first is of the beginning of the procession featuring the young man carrying the large star followed by Mary and Joseph.
The wise men were fairly far apart by the time they got to our location and often stopped along the way to pose for pictures for family and friends, so I never got all three kings next to each other in this next clip.
But, rest assured three kings were there along with five or six hundred San Clemente citizens and visitors eating, celebrating, and generally enjoying the evening here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!