By: Zayra Ramos-Ortiz
CLEVELAND – The night of 9th January the City of Cleveland celebrated its annual tradition of Fiesta de Reyes.
Fiesta de Reyes or Epiphany is a religious festivity that is celebrated mainly by Hispanic people on 6th January of each year. In some countries it is a tradition to give gifts to the kids remembering the presents that baby Jesus received by the Three King.
Some of the Hispanics traditions are: in Puerto Rico, the kids cuts grass and put it in a shoe box behind the bed with a glass of water for the camels; in Spain there is a Parade in every town and city and every kids puts a shoe in line where the Three Kings leave a present; in Mexico the celebration starts on the evening before with a supper where the family share bread decorated with fruits. Inside of the bread is a small statue of baby Jesus. Whoever find the statue has to prepare a party on February 2nd, “dia de la Candelaria.”
Cleveland is a city with a diversity of minorities groups living among them and Hispanics being the majority, thus making different celebrations through the year. Therefore, Major Frank G. Jackson, Lucy Torres, community Hispanic Liaison for City of Cleveland and the Community Relations Board put it together a mayor celebration where more than 300 kids participated and received gifts from The Three Kings, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar (Michael Shockley, Michael McDonald, and Cesar Colon).
The festivity started with Lucy Torres giving us the welcoming for being there, followed by Pastor Steven Grady, City of Cleveland Community Relations Board, who gave an invocation, and Elizabeth Guzman that sang the Star Spangled Banner. Other people that was there, Councilman Zack Reed that publicly gave thanks to the Hispanic Community for inviting him; Harold Pretel, Commander of the Hispanic Police Association, who spoke to the public and remind ourselves about the next coming party that will be on January 17th, a fundraiser for school, and, Nelson Ramirez, Director of the Hispanic Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program.
The activities for the kids introduced by Pastor Neid Ortiz included throwing balloons to the air; run from a corner to the other; a raffle of 9 bikes, given away from Affordable Bikes located at 10001 Lorain Avenue Cleveland, owned by Nozomi Ikuita and James Watson. The first bike was won by Jasiel, a kid from Puerto Rico that is currently visiting his grandmother in Cleveland, Jackeline Rivera. Another boy, who won a bicycle was Dario and he was celebrating his birthday. The public sang the Birthday song for him. Other activities included face painting by Andrea and Jessica Wallach, and Balloon Art by Keith Heidenreich.
The food was provided by Titi Micas Catering Service and included refreshments, “alcapurrias ciegas, and empanadillas”, a dish from Puerto Rico, and sandwiches.
A special presentation from Julia de Burgos took placed, where the Cheerleaders, the girl’s group age from 4 to 12 danced Christmas music and the Frozen song. A boy named Xavier, sang “Yo tenía una luz”, a Christmas song from Puerto Rico. DJ Mickey and a live band Group Juan Mix was the musical entertainment for the night.
A booth from the pageant Miss Puerto Rico Image was presented by Yasin Cuevas, Natalia Cordero, and the new Miss Cleveland Regina Alvarado from Juana Diaz. They were explaining the requisites to compete on the pageant and were recruiting girls starting at age 14. They were giving to everybody an image of a crown in the color of purple and exposing the real crown to the public.
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