A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast

Multi-Cultural Christmas!

December 30, 2021 Simon Doong and Lee Catoe Season 1 Episode 45
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Multi-Cultural Christmas!
Show Notes Transcript

This is a very special episode!! We are joined by our special guests Rosa Miranda, Edwin  González-Castillo, and Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri to talk about holiday traditions! And we are introducing the SPANISH EDITION to A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast, Una Cuestión de Fe! Join us on the last Thursday of each month for episodes! 

Special Guests:
Rosa Miranda, Associate for Hispanic/Latino-a Intercultural Congregational Support, Office of Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries

Edwin  González-Castillo,Associate for Disaster Response – Latin America and the Caribbean, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, Regional Liaison to the Caribbean with Presbyterian World Mission, Co-Moderator 223rd GA (2018)

Guest Question:
I know people have different Christmas traditions and celebrations. In fact, in some cultures, Christmas doesn't really end on Christmas day. How do you celebrate Christmas and do you know anyone who can talk about this? | Spanish podcast

00:03 – Simon Doong

Hello and welcome to a matter of faith of Presby Podcast, the podcast where we respond to your questions and comments on issues of faith, social justice, and church life. Don't be afraid to write in and ask your question, because if it matters to you, it matters to us. And it just might be a matter of faith,


00:21 – Lee Catoe

whether it be faith in God, faith in others or faith in yourself. We are brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unbound the interactive journal on Christian social justice for the Presbyterian Church USA. I am your host, Lee Catoe.


00:39 – Simon Doong

And I'm your host Simon Doong.


00:41- Lee Catoe

Without further ado, let's dive into today's questions.


00:53 – Simon Doong

Well, hello, everyone. Welcome again to a matter of faith Presby podcast, we are so excited to be bringing you a special episode. Well, we always think every episode is special and every guest is special. But we are so excited to be welcoming the the the trio The trifecta, three really amazing and important people to us onto the podcast. And you've actually heard all their voices before. But before we introduce our special guests, Lee, how are you doing?


01:26 – Lee Catoe

I'm good Simon. Hello, everybody. I'm really excited for this episode. Because yeah, we're gonna be talking about Christmas, y'all. And it is my favorite time of the year. And I know a lot of people say that, but I really do love this time of year and judge me all you want, but I get really into it. I love the Christmas music. I love the lights and the decorations and all the things and so I just really like this time of year. So I'm very excited. And I'm very excited for this episode Simon.


02:01 – Simon Doong

Yeah, I am. Yep, I am, too. And you know, I bet some folks are probably thinking, you know, this episode is coming out a little bit after Christmas thinking why are we still talking about Christmas? Well, I'm gonna go ahead and read our question for today because it talks about just that. The question reads, “I know people have different Christmas traditions and celebrations. In fact, in some cultures, Christmas doesn't really end on Christmas Day. How do you celebrate Christmas? And do you know anyone who can talk about this?” 


02:35 – Lee Catoe

Well, boy do we know. We know some people? Yeah.


02:39 – Simon Doong

So first, I'd like to just introduce Rosa Miranda, the associate for Hispanic and Latino Latina, intercultural congregational support in the office of racial equity and women's intercultural ministries. To this conversation, Rosa, great to have you.


02:57 – Rosa Miranda

It's so good to be with you, Lee and Simon, thank you for having me today with you.


03:01 – Simon Doong

And also joining us is Edwin González-Castillo, the associate for disaster response in the Latin in Latin America and the Caribbean, for Presbyterian disaster assistance. Edwin, good to see you.


03:14 - Edwin González-Castillo

I am excited to be here. Thank you both for inviting me. I'm really excited.


03:18 – Simon Doong

And rounding out the terrific trio. We Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, who's a Presbyterian elder and the regional liaison for Latin America and the Caribbean. Bill Murray. Thanks for being with us.


03:32 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

Thank you for inviting me excited to be talking about Christmas.


03:36 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, this is gonna be really fun. And so yeah, we're just gonna, we're just gonna, like, open it up and talk a little bit about Christmas, and all the different traditions. But I will also say y'all that Christmas is the season it is. I mean, that's why they have the 12 days of Christmas. And you know that a very American songs 12 Days of Christmas, but their Christmas does extend in other cultures more than just 12 days. And so we're also going to talk about that, but yeah, what are your experiences of Christmas? I just would really love to know. I see Vilmarie has a Christmas tree in the background.


04:11 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

Yeah, our apartment here in Miami is already decked out for the Advent slash Christmas season. And it's interesting because when I when I read the question, that Christmas doesn't really end on Christmas Day. What I was thinking is well, Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas and then you have the 12 days after that until I epiphany and that's the way I remember my Christmas is from as a young person and as a child. All the expectation before the actual Christmas Day the the happiness of Christmas morning and all the traditions or all the family traditions and the church traditions because I am I was born within the context of our Presbyterian Church in Sandton wanting but an eagle And Christmas extends where we come from until well in my case in my household until my birthday which is the 31st of January so we're celebrating that celebrating the Christmas tree one state I think long enough a little bit before Ash Wednesday or something like that because it is a time a for family and there are traditions that honor the the mad guy, the three kings as we call them, but I have my was in Puerto Rico and in other Latin American countries. So there are traditions within the culture that extends so that extend the season or the seasons. So it is a very happy time very colorful time lots of twinkly lights, trees everywhere, nativity scenes everywhere everyone I know at least from my family and close relatives has a collection of nativity scenes, or a collection of figurines from you know, three kings or Magi you want to call them it's part of our artisanal culture in the time in in San Juan in Puerto Rico and where my husband was someone who is from a wealthy jet and that's the case two and entire neighborhoods are decorated, entire towns are decorated with with the with with the colors of the season and with the themes, mainly religious themes. So everywhere you go, um, a where I come from has that flavor and even the sense of the season which is you know, the the wonderful food that surrounds the celebrations as well so it's it's it's a time for memories is a time for celebration. And I think we skip pretty much Advent and go directly to the Christmas time. I don't think I have I remember, you know, other than in the church at times. Because of the best moments that were purple. A really understanding it was Advent for me was as a child a It was Christmas until January. 


07:13 – Rosa Miranda

And I was I was born and raised in Mexico in a family in which my mom's family was Roman Catholic and my dad was kind of Presbyterian, not really committed, but until, um, for me Christmas started on December 16. That was a time in which we have Posadas and the word in English for Posadas would be like the aims or lunges. And so we had a fifth side party every single day started on the 16th at that time, and we brought in candles and food. And we knew there would be Pina pass. And we were so excited about being able to be there with family and friends and neighbors. Everyone Everyone brought something to eat that we all put like on a table. So we could share after singing after I'm knocking, just asking for the innkeeper to let us in. Just like in the procession. We all were outside knocking the door singing and asking, Can we come in, just like it was the way in which in which missionaries taught our native people on how to celebrate Christmas. So this is a tradition that has been there for more than 400 years. So there's a richness and NASA as Bill Murray says this color, there's texture, there's males, and there's flavors that stay with with me as I grew up, and I came to live into this country. Not to say that just like she mentioned, it goes all the way to epiphany day, which is a fun day as well because, um, is not sometimes the one that brings the present is the three kings. And so that's another time in which we all gather around the bread. And I spend time as family reflecting and learning and singing and eating together. So it's a season. It's a full season. Let me add to this that the name for consent. Yes. The name in Spanish is not to buena which would be the like the Holy Night flower. And this flower was very much Appreciate it all ready by aspects. And the name for that was worthless search engine. That's the name. We named that it here on set. Yes, because of the first ambassador to Mexico that brought those flowers with him. But the real name is, um, I'm Holly Knight flower. And that flower starts blooming in the fall. So we can even claim it all the way to the fall. So season.


10:29 - Edwin González-Castillo

Lee, I'm with you. I love Christmas. I, the Christmas period is in my house already. And I have to tell you, I'm excited because we're not the first to put decorations outside. And I live in Louisville, and I thought we were going to be the first ones. And I was excited about that. And, and my neighbors beat me to it. They were they had decorations even before Thanksgiving. And I was like, wow, I think it speaks to the to the to the reality of what we're leaving and the needs for people to celebrate. And to have happy moments and to have lights and to do things that are are and that they can enjoy his family so that back when he was wonderful. But yeah, the Christmas period is all over and like the Maria from Puerto Rico. So yes, we celebrate and we love this time of the year, I was listening to Rosa and thinking that we have a version of Posadas, but what we call it piranhas and there because of your Latinos, they're more like we GCL they're more high tone there we instead of knocking we scream Assata which is like a salt. This is an assault. This is Yeah, and we wake up people at three in the morning with music and guitars and whatever instrument we can find. And if we don't find an instrument, we'll use our data's which is their pots, and we will make noise until you wake up and you you must have food available to welcome us. And it's just a big tradition. And, and I that's one of the things that I really miss about about living here in the United States. It's having Miranda's and we have talked about it to some of our colleagues, we're Americans and we have their they feel threatened that we're going to appear all the sudden in their houses with a three and have a banana. But yeah, traditions, there's some similarities between our traditions, but but there's some differences that that define us. And that make that that special time for us in our celebrations. And like the Marie said, in our case, it runs Christmas runs into the almost the 16th of December, of course in Mary's houses because you know, it's Bill Murray and she's celebrating her birthday. So that's a big celebration, but in the rest of the is all around the 16 and is the sense of STM festival. And it's usually we call it the Aqua Vita eight days after three games and all of that. And that's when the the festival starts and it's a big celebration and all sudden one also a lot of people from many countries go to Puerto Rico to participate in that celebration is it starts this year, for example, next year starts from the 12th and some of the 16 a whole weekend. And there's crass and distress on the streets. There's music everywhere. There's a lot of celebration on the streets. And that basically is the culmination of Christmas but a lot of people do not pay attention to that and continues on almost at the end of the of January. And it's wonderful. It's one of those reasons for me to put the decorations outside because I know that I'm not going to take them down on the 24th That's that's blasphemy. I have to have them into into after this and save ass celebration. 


13:59 – Lee Catoe

That's great. Yeah, and y'all didn't Well, nobody can see anything on the podcast, but we got a glimpse into Edwin's Deke Dekho er, and there's a lot of boxes of decor. I just want to just throw that out there. Just to give everybody an image of what that means when we're talking about decorations. There's a lot of boxes there. Oh, yeah. And I'm very impressed.


14:22 - Edwin González-Castillo

Yeah, me. My wife and I we take it really seriously. We change everything in the house we put all the pumpkins away and here comes the reindeers and the trees and yeah, it's it's it's a blast. We love it. I don't know about you. But for me, it's also having the nativity scene. And when when we were kids, we used to go with our grandmothers to the market and by the little pieces because there were animals and there were cascades and rivers and ponds and and people from the village represented in different ways according to what the job was. So you could have like, like the baker, or the shoe maker, or different people represented in that nativity scene. So that was the center have placed at the center of our homes, and, or, or, or if not a big window that people could come by and stop and watch. But for us as a children, it was a time for grandparents to tell us the story of when Jesus was born. And we did not place the baby in the nativity scene. And we did not put the three kings or the three wise men at that time. So we have to wait. And it was a time for creativity and for listening and sharing and learning and especially for grandparents to share about their faith, though. I think I did that with my own children and so I not only have the patience for the tree, I also have my own nativity scenes. How about you, Vilmarie?


16:20 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

I do I have a big collection of activities. And here we in our home in our household we collect miniatures a nativity scenes made out of grains of rice or little spices, clubs and that sort of thing and much of it and at least we're in ssst on a festival that Edwin was mentioning there there is a big market for artists and all artisanal type nativity scenes made out of the maybe pottery or other seeds and types of things that are that are from the natural world so we really like to collect the ones that were made a homemade or are made specially for this season because it reflected the soul of the artist some of them I don't even know how they painted you know a little face on Baby Jesus and a grain of rice but but they I do have one of those here at home as well because it is it is interestingly enough and I hear from your culture as well and also that it is the tradition is very religious within the Christian traditions it mainly Roman Catholic but also a Protestant it's very so there you can see nativity scenes and three wise men or three kings or my guy everywhere it's was a shock for us when we move to continental US even though we move to the Miami area which is a very you know tropical as well and very Latin American flavor area that the lack of nativity scenes where are they I don't because we see them everywhere in the island and we collect one every year and so it was strange for me not to see it you know the houses decorated because in our place of you know in San Juan or God was which is we lived in Dallas for a few years and a Aguada which is in the western side of the island of Puerto Rico also very decorated you know, there were lights everywhere as well. And there there are many religious Christian traditions surrounding the CSUN concerts a Christmas con todos in our in our church where you know that was the highlight of the year you began rehearsing at a probably end of September October in order to have the Christmas program ready that day our guests Catholic siblings have the nice day Gaggia which is the Midnight Mass at so it's an it's very centered around expecting Jesus and receiving Jesus and then receiving the Magi and and and the even the songs that I and I love the Christmas season because of the music here in our home we have Christmas music I don't have it on right now because we're we're recording this but it's Christmas music almost 24/7 and and we have a you know a mixture of music it is music from here from from continental US and from around the world from different countries. You had the music A from our Latin American Caribbean, a and Puerto Rico it region. It's very rich. We have no music come out every year and it's interesting because there are people I was reading in social media say oh no Christmas music in October and I'm thinking yes Yes, more question music because, you know, it's beautiful to hear. And I have to say that that, you know, Oh, holy night in all its different type of arrangements and people are so creative they it's the same song but they create different arrangements. In our case, there are songs that are that are that are created or written every year in the folk music from Puerto Rico, which has a prominence during this during the the Christmas and adven seasons and for epiphany as well, new songs created in in trova, a Deci, Moscow plus, which are, you know, not only in Puerto Rico, but also in other places in Latin America. So music here to almost 24/7. And it's, and we have a huge collection of activities and music during the entire season.


20:54 - Edwin González-Castillo

And you mentioned, the three kings are the my eye, that for me is one of the best celebrations that I love, and I enjoy. And it's so in my case, we collect a lot of things, and we'd like them. And it connects us to the reality of the celebrations in Puerto Rico because we before we didn't have Santa Claus, we didn't have Noel, it was the celebration was three kings. And, and I remember, people who moved to the United States, their complaint was that of the United States continental was that, Oh, were they don't have a lot of time for the kids to celebrate three kings. Because classes start really early in the year, and they're still having opening gifts of three kings gifts, you know, and in Puerto Rico, that was important. That was a time that was left for the kids to be able to celebrate and, and dressing up as a like Marie was mentioning dressing up as a three game one of the kings and, and the gifts and all of that, that that is that is one of the most amazing things that I like about about the celebration of Christmas. There's a story that we really enjoy in Puerto Rico about is called Santa Claus. Bala coochie was when when the US people from the United States of America, the continental tried to bring Santa Claus to Puerto Rico, and a teacher, an English teacher dressed up as Santa Claus and try to climb through the window. And the image of the painting. And the story is that all the kids started screaming and grill and trying to leave the classroom. Because it was it was a shock for them. Because they were not accustomed to that. For us. This is three kings Three Kings was before. So that was three kings was the day of receiving gifts. And there's still some people in Puerto Rico that I have heard that they don't do gifts exchange on on Christmas, they wait until Three Kings Day to do the exchange. And that for me that is and I know that there are other countries. I don't know. Mexico is the one that has the the torta with the baby inside on three games, Rosa.


23:07 – Rosa Miranda

Yes. Yes, it is. And, and as I was listening to you, and when I was thinking on how we have this many rich traditions that we don't really know the backgrounds, the story behind them. And many of them were the resources that missionaries back 400 years ago used to share about the Christmas time but also about the story of Jesus being born. But yeah, one of the things that one of the ways in which we celebrate the epiphanies by we buy it, because it's very elaborate to make the three kings bread. It's a wrap. It's like a rap. It's round bread that is decorated with dried food, fruits, different colors, red and green and yellow. And those fruits represent the presence that the three kings brought to the baby. And there is a little baby Jesus figurine that goes inside. And sometimes it's not just only one it's still three or four. And the reason for that is that we all come together and then we cut a piece from that bread. And you can pick where you want to cut the the piece of bread. And if you get the baby, then you're you're the one that has the honor to serving dinner for all the people that are sitting around the table in February. So but it's a fun time again, the baby is hidden because it represents how the baby had to hide and in order to be saved and he's I saved, but also, um, it was, um, it was a time to Amin, which parents would tell us that this was a time in which Baby Jesus was revealed to the world as the Son of God. And that those three kings or three magic represented us, the world, the people to whom Jesus had come. So again, it was a time to tell about the story to pass along. What faith by faith is important and meaningful in our lives. And it was a time for parents and grandparents and all family to come together as one and, and just reflect and learn and also be around the table. Because that's the other important piece that Christmas and the season of Christmas brings everyone to the table. 


26:09 - Edwin González-Castillo

Gonna mention about the those traditions and the importance of them. And for me, for example, when we're talking about the three games or epiphany, now that I, when we're kids, we we love about the gifts and we love about the the candles and all the stories. But as you get older and you realize what's behind the story about Jesus and beam worship have been celebrated by this people from from different place a different religion, different language, it talks about that, that invitation to the table and that welcoming spirit of the Christmas time, you know that that breaks barriers that breaks walls, that that celebrates the birth of a child, and the impact it has in the lives of so many people. And the importance for us as Christians or we're in different countries and different cultures, and different ways to celebrate. But it all ends up in the welcoming table and welcoming space.


27:12 – Lee Catoe

And what y'all said what you said about Santa Claus, I always found it very weird. Growing up, you know, we were taught I mean, where I'm from, like, I mean, Santa Claus overtakes Christmas. And I'll just say that, like, it really does, like, hearing y'all talk, like, the integration of faith within like each and everything that you're talking about. Like there is a purpose. There's a reason there's like something integrated within the tradition. There is something backing that but yeah, Santa Claus was like, I mean, it's like the I think it America is like the the peak of you know, the season. And that like this build up is commercially at least and I think even when it is the church, it's like a Christmas Eve service. Some churches don't even have Christmas day service, because if it if it lands on a Sunday, they're like nobodies don't come anyway. You know, like, I think hearing your target is so interesting, because, and I will say what I was gonna say before, I always thought it was weird that a bearded man was like sneaking into your house and giving you presence. I did. I do think that was very bizarre. And I was always scared of Santa Claus. Like I would have to sleep in my brother's room because I was terrified that this person was coming into my house, and just scared in general. But I do think it is interesting, specifically in America that like the Christmas music starts and it's all very commercialized. It's all like being Crosby and like, all these like, you know, these artists are doing things and I love that kind of stuff. But here and y'all speak it is such a different experience from what I have, because it is just about the day like that day is done. And then people leave. And that's not how it is all the time. But I feel like it's it's yeah, it's just interesting that the integration within everything. There is a purpose. And there's a story behind that. And I think that's really beautiful.


29:13 – Rosa Miranda

Yes, it is beautiful. And it is very sad that with globalization, we're losing those traditions. In many cases, we don't longer know why we do it or the story behind it or the meaning for our lives today. We're just losing that. When you were talking about Santa Claus, I was just remembering a story in this was my husband, Tony. He was a little kid and in a unique way. He's a third generation Presbyterian Mexican, which is very strange, but the thing is that he says that one time he asked his dad, so why you said that Santa Claus brings me gifts and not the three kids All of my friends get presents from the three kings. And the response was, Well, you're a Protestant kid, and Protestant kids get presents from Santa class and Roman Catholic kids get them from the three kings. So that gives you an idea of, I'm talking some decades ago. Um, how that was part of, I don't know, the culture, but was communicated along with the message that missionaries brought into Mexico in this case. Yeah, I'm gonna go


30:43 - Edwin González-Castillo

I'm glad in Puerto Rico with this syncretism, and we mix both things. And so we get both gifts.


30:52 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

The three games jackpot, we get Santa Claus and the three kings and that also goes to show of the reality of the island, you know, and the colonial status of the island as well we celebrate both worlds that I was thinking as you're sharing about traditions and and how things are, are disappearing. We, when we lived in San Juan was going on I when we lived in San Juan, every day, after a Three Kings Day they after epiphany, there will be an offering I denied or a gift of music is happening in our in the apartment building that was next to ours and the entire community could hear the entire day. This traditional folk music investments which are it's a poetic form of a rhyme of song that is almost always improvised or spontaneous. And with really just a themes and topics also celebrating a the, the newborn king, the child, Jesus, the child, the Holy Family, and the three wise men are the Magi. And every seven every January seven we would hear and the entire naval neighborhood would hear this group of troubadours throughout Lotus that would sing as sort of a liturgy it was a sort of a mass because it it recounted the story, since the announcement of the angel to marry until a the bad guy came to, to see the new word King and the entire story, just recite it, um, sung in song, and it will take hours. But nobody complained. Nobody called you know, anybody, you know, saying, Well, this people like just making noise No, because it was part of the tradition. But that tradition I hadn't heard in years until we moved to San Juan. And this particular family did that as an offering to a family member as we understood it to a family member that had passed away during that same time. So they they did that every year. And I wondered then, as I wonder, now, this type of tradition, is it still being done, where you have a sort of liturgy, and it was actually a mass it's a mass is a worship service, recounting the entire nativity story. from its very beginning, in song and rhyme, and that was absolutely beautiful. We look forward to that every year. And then we move to mainland us a few years later, and I don't remember ever hearing that particular expression of faith and song and poetry, other than in YouTube, or in or in a Christmas special on TV. But yes, that that even that type of tradition, a by our traditional you know, troubadours through aloneness and folk music in Puerto Rico, very much accentuated during the Advent and Christmas season is being lost as well,


34:27 - Edwin González-Castillo

Including that that music that worship services is it's an opportunity to connect with family and to celebrate family celebrate relationships, that that will be John just as the celebration of the 24th or 25th. It's an opportunity to forgive as an opportunity to to connect with someone that you haven't seen in a while. It's it's a magical moment for us and I was reminded what you were talking about remembering someone special in it My my high school or senior class, we live with it panoramas, every every year before we were seniors, and when we were seniors, we did a lot. And we visited all our teachers who was it, we thought it was our vendors, but it turned out to be something that they enjoyed. And we went to their houses at 3am to have pandas. And we kept doing it for many years after we graduated. And sadly, one of our most wonderful teachers, she died a few years after we graduated. And when we were close to Christmas, her husband called us and said, You're coming to give us that, right, you're coming to my house, because I'm expecting you to be here, and celebrating and singing. So it was a way to remember her. And to celebrate her life, it was the time to connect with someone that that that that was a special to us, even even if it wasn't there. And that I think it's Christmas, Christmas allows us to celebrate remembering to connect and to share stories that also you were mentioning the stories about, or pass about the Bible about people who were significant in our lives, and especially the during Christmas, it's a wonderful time to to celebrate it to be family,


36:20 – Rosa Miranda

I think our traditions remind us of that Christmas is is a time is a season to, to come to the manger, to journey to the manger. And, and be there just like I'm like the shepherds like just like the wise men, just people of the world who come and, and, and worship and bring ourselves to the manger and then sit around the table sit around the table where we are all equal, where there's God's love bringing us together as a family. And not I'm just I'm not talking about just like my relatives, but as a family because it's the neighborhood is the communities is I'm making the Fiesta together by bringing with solidarity and love. All of the blessings that God has given us and just sitting at the table. It's being just like everybody else is there's no difference. There's, there's just us, God's children around the table. And so that's the invitation for the season. As Edwin Bill Murray said, celebration, for us is a fiesta time, party time and gratitude because of God's grace,


38:02 – Simon Doong

I really like that process. And I'm going to go back to something that Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri talked about earlier the history of the poinsettia. So when I was in college, I would work at a plant nursery during my Christmas breaks, helping to sleeve point poinsettias and sleeves to then be picked up or sent out on deliveries mostly to churches. And I had I didn't I realized I never knew the the origin of of the word and the term. And I love Florida nota buena and this this flower of light because the idea that we send those those flowers of light out to then also when we like that, obviously we like the Advent candles throughout the Advent season but also just for myself during the during the height of the of the COVID 19 pandemic here in the States, particularly in the later half of 2020. I have a relative who took a poinsettia. And he had but he actually had had the poinsettia from the year before. And he kept it alive for another whole year. So the idea that the light continues, the light provided strength, the light provided purpose and meaning even amidst a dark time. I think there's something really powerful to that. And so I hope that as folks maybe put poinsettias and their churches that they think about that and meaning and who we can share it with because I think one of the other nice things about point SETI is that people can take them home afterwards because the church doesn't want to keep them in the sanctuary all the time, at least in the ones that I've that I've been and they don't always keep the point centers in the sanctuary past Christmas Eve. So carrying that light with that light with us and then maybe put it in the center of the table when we sit down to eat together. Think there's something really really special about that.


39:58 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, and though One connection. So I'm from South Carolina. And this is that is where points set was from. And there's so many names within the context of South Carolina, their roads and buildings and all these things named after this guy. And when when Rosa, you said that it made me think back to how like, I mean, South Carolina kind of took that on and was just like, oh yeah, like, I mean, there are points that is everywhere people made trees of them, like the, the tiered ones, and they would have these big ones like, and like town centers and things like that, but also someone who like represents like that colonization of a plant. And so it really does nuance that symbol, even more so now. And in the context of like, how we how we like see such a beautiful plant that has that kind of connection. That was such a big part of our lives in South Carolina too. Because that was the one thing we learned in South Carolina history was the poinsettia was named after this guy who was from South Carolina. But yeah, I found that very, very interesting, too. Yeah, when you were talking about it.


41:19 - Edwin González-Castillo

You know, I have to look at Google to make sure what's Poinsettia because we call them Pascuas in Spanish. We I think we call them pascuas. Yes.Yeah. Is Puerto Rico we call it pascuas and it was which is interesting because he has really more to do with Eastern than than Christmas the word passports. But yeah, we love it. And interesting enough, and you were mentioning something about giving we have a receivable ready to go points at us. And this just as an end in Puerto Rico, that's that's something that we also get to people. Now we have we see them we glitter and I'm not a greater person. So but, but we see them they many colleagues, they're beautiful.


42:05 – Rosa Miranda

They're beautiful. And you know, it was in the 17th century that Franciscan friars integrated. Florida nota buena into the nativity sets, like part of the decoration. So um, I'll say that flow Florida, nota buena, it's a gift from Mexico to the world. Because it's, it's originally from Mexico. And I think there's some different biographies right now. But it's the red one, the one that had been traditionally brought to the US.


42:42 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, the red and yeah, we had white ones. And like, yeah, people would, we'd always get stuck with like six of them during the Christmas season, because it'd be so many I say this, just because this happened to me yesterday, I was talking to someone about police Navidad yesterday, just because it came up. And they had many opinions about that song. And I just wonder, because that is a it is something that we hear on the radio. So many people have covered it. People who aren't even like a lot of people who are not who do not have that experience and Latino or Latina community. And that was kind of the thing we talked about a little bit. It's like is that like this appropriation of something that is now in some cases, in some ways that song it's kind of like making fun of a culture in a way? It's just like, what's that Hawaiian, there was there's also a song that uses the native Hawaiian language and speaking about Christmas. And so I wonder, I wonder about that too, because it's were these like this, like American commercialization that we were talking about, and a culture that is so diverse, and yet I think we were talking about that this song has kind of like generalized has helped generalize a group of people that is multi like multi diverse, and in so many ways, and so I just wonder about that because it just happened to us yesterday, and we talked for like an hour and a half about it.


44:21 - Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

We were having a conversation here at home earlier because there's merchandise and everything, and the song was originally written and interpreted by Jose Feliciano was a Puerto Rican a from lattice from the town of lattice Puerto Rico and, and the intention behind the song is, at least what I remember him sharing once at a program. It was the intention of sharing a song that was simple, yet profound in a way that that that reminds people what the reality of the season is, you know, it's wishing you all the joy and all the good things that can possibly happen to you for the new year. And I'm paraphrasing, because I heard him say this many years ago. And then because it is such a simple song, and, you know, the lyrics are our, you know, it's a catchy tune and everything else, then it, you know, it's easier for people to learn it, but, but the intention, the original intention of the song was, you know, it's easy to learn, and it's an it's catchy, and is easy to hear. And eventually people have, like you said, early commercialized commercializes. When the initial at what I what, and this is my opinion, it's not obviously this is not Jose Feliciano speaking but when I remember when I was a young child, and I didn't really understand English, just to have the Phillies Navidad, a prospera felicidad and that I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and I was I could relate him whatever was being said in English to understand what it meant in English because I was listening to the Spanish part. So it connected something in my brain, it made a different kind of connection, it didn't have a commercialized a meaning behind it, or it wasn't a mockery of a language. It was a simple message that I as a child could understand what was being said and could learn, you know, a phrase in another language, but I get what you say. And yes, it has been interpreted in so many ways by so many people, that it has taken a different, a different tone, or a different intention. But as a as a Puerto Rican, I'm hearing the intention of the author. Many years ago, I embrace the original intention of the song, which was to share a message that was simple, but profound at the same time.


47:13 - Edwin González-Castillo

And and yeah, and I was reading about it, also that when Jose Feliciano wrote it, he he had, he'd wrote it in both Spanish and English. So they will play it in the radios here in the United States. And he wanted something simple that people can remember and can can sing, and has been sung so many times. I think, like, similar to Bill Murray is like one of those songs that when you hear no what no matter where you are, it hits your heart. It's like, oh, they're singing, at least me that. And, and it reminds you of a home, it reminds you of Christmas is somewhere in this case from Puerto Rico. So someone from your home from your land, and, and it connects you to that tradition. And in some ways, it's a way to connect people, you know, we have, we had given dinner here. And we have part of the people were from the United States from, I mean, from Americans. And some people were from Puerto Rico and others. And we were having issues with what to sing because we they didn't know a lot of Carols, and they didn't know a lot of Puerto Rican songs. And we found something common it was fun, isn't it? That was the I think the only sound that everyone could sing at the same time in play because we all knew that the the lyrics to it. So in a way it got the attention of the author, say Feliciano to connect people.


48:36 – Lee Catoe

Yeah. And I think that's what like the ultimate. Like after the conversation. I think like that's, that's like, where my friend landed, like speaking to Lena like it has been commercialized in some way. And there are some genres of music, and I won't point that out that have used it as it's in some ways. It's kind of a mockery. There are certain genres that will do that. And people can and people can think about that and do what would that what they want. But yeah, that it was kind of a message of bringing people together. And so yeah, I just wondered about that, because that's what yeah, that was just fresh on my brain from this past week. But I also wanted to go back and talk about kind of dislike getting together like around the table and as a family and as a part of this podcast and as a part of what we have been doing to expand our table. Yes, we are going to talk metaphorically in the podcast, we're over expanding our podcast table and we are and this podcast that's coming out that we are going to be expanding our table and we are going to have a regular Spanish podcast and Edwin and Rosa are going to be the regulars are gonna be there regular house of that. And in the spirit of the Christmas season and the spirit of welcoming all to the table and expanding our family, a matter of faith is expanding our family. And we are so excited to announce that today. And Edwin and Rosa and Bill Murray will be He, He will also be showing up every once in a while as well into this enter this world we call it the podcast world. But yeah, do y'all have anything to to say, because this is gonna be a new journey with you. And we're very excited.


50:35 - Edwin González-Castillo

Oh, we are. We were happy about the opportunity. It's it's a new grounds and but we're thankful for the invitation to participate and help and, and in this case, to join the table with an ambition language for speaking in Spanish speaking communities. It is exciting that we were so happy and and that is the idea of the topic. That is the idea of the podcast is to be able to welcome people to invite them to the table to the conversations, Latinos. And I think that that goes around in many other countries. We love talking in the table we love the table is a place to welcome them to have the difficult conversations, the good conversations, to see where people are. And that's what we want in this podcast in Spanish. And actually the one that we're doing and the first one, he's going to talk about this about Christmas and our traditions in Spanish. And we're going to be able to share a little bit. So we this is just a preview English version of that, that we're going to do in Spanish to Rosa.


51:44 – Rosa Miranda

Yes. And I'm so excited because this is just the natural way in which you have embraced us and say, Yes, you belong. You are part of the PCUSA, the Presbyterian Church USA. And it's a wonderful way of doing it, thank you for opening it up on the table. And so that we may become that intercultural church that we want to be that we longed to be. So I'm so excited about this and having this conversations, not not just in Spanish, but also that we keep doing this. Even when English is not our first language. We're still here, and we're part of the church and, and this is just uplifting. I'm so grateful to God for this opportunity. And thank you for that. 


52:38 - Edwin González-Castillo

we're being we're bringing to poquito and tamales to the table. That's the thing.


52:48 – Simon Doong

Well, we encourage everyone to be looking out for that Spanish podcast episode. And for all the future Spanish podcast episodes that Rosa and Edwin will host for the conversations that they will be able to bring to light and more wonderful guests that they'll be able to invite to the table as well. And so as we close we want to wish everyone again, a Merry Christmas because the Christmas season as we talked about earlier, the Christmas season, the celebration, the time to come together is not over. And so everyone, please continue the celebration of the birth of Christ, the birth of Jesus. And also do not forget the three wise men because come on in the US we always forget. So don't forget the wise men either. Thanks, everyone. Thank you, Rosa and Edwin and Vilmarie for being with us.


53:43 – Edwin, Rosa & Vilmarie



53:59 – Lee Catoe

So before we officially end this episode, we want to remind everyone that the Spanish edition episodes as a matter of faith of Presby podcast will come out the last Thursday of each month alongside the English addition to a matter of fate a Presby podcast. So keep an eye out for those and those two episodes will come out at the same time. And again, we are so excited to welcome Edwin and Rosa to this podcast family and to this ministry. So until next time, Y'all have a great and happy holiday, and we will see you in the new year


54:47 – Simon Doong & Lee Catoe

This has been the matter of faith podcast brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unbound. If you would like to submit a question for discussion. You can do so at Faith podcast@pcusa.org. We look forward to hearing from you. See you next time. See you next time y'all 


55:30 – Simon Doong

Hey y'all, this is Simon I couldn't even get so bad or keeping or keeping this in.


55:33 – Simon Doong

Yeah. Hey y'all. This is Simon trying to sound like Lee. No, that was a good anyways, you know what it's episode 45 Can you believe it folks episode 45 a matter of faith a Presby podcast don't forget to subscribe, like or follow on your preferred podcast platform


55:52 – Lee Catoe

and I'm not gonna even try to sound like Simon because I don't know how to do that. But you know what you could do is leave us a review five stars and it really does help us bring content like you like Simon trying to sound like me


56:07 – Simon Doong

The best in faith based podcasting content. Seriously, if you have a question that you'd like us to respond to or read or find someone else to give insight, you can send it to us at Faith podcast@pcusa.org We look forward to hearing your questions.