Christmas is a big deal in Mexico, what with it being mostly a Catholic country. However, this is not the only day during the holiday season when gifts are given.
Three Kings Day, or Día de Los Reyes, on Jan. 6 is the actual culmination of the season here. This is when the three wise men purportedly gave their gifts to Jesus. Melchior was traveling from Europe, Balthasar from Africa, and Caspar from the Middle East.
It is more common for children in Mexico to receive gifts on this day from the kings instead of on Dec. 25 from Santa. Children will even write letters to the three wise men.
Traditional foods are served on Jan. 6, including a sweat bread called rosca de reyes. A tiny baby Jesus figurine is baked inside of it. This is done as a symbolic gesture to reflect on when baby Jesus had to be hidden from King Herod’s troops. The person who receives the slice with the figurine then has to host a party Feb. 2 on Día de la Candelaria, Day of the Candles.
Mexico is not the country with this cultural and religious celebration. It’s popular throughout Latin America, and variations of the holiday can be found in Europe.
I love the unique insight of your experiences in Mexico. I knew little of the culture before I started following your blog.
While I wouldn’t want to find Baby Jesus in my food, I love the idea of it all… making the holidays last a little longer.
Feliz año nuevo para usted mi amiga.