After New Year’s Day, Mexican & Latino families still have a very special date to celebrate and enjoy!
On January 6, most Latino countries celebrate Dia de los Reyes, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus.
On the night, of January 5, the figurines of the Three Wise Men are added to the nativity scene. Before going to bed the children place their shoes under their bed, outside, or in the living room, where the Wise Men will leave them presents. Some also place some hay and a bucket with water for the animals, and even some cookies and milk for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar.
I recall my mother always saving one of our Christmas gifts to give us on this day, though it is not commonly practiced tradition (at least here in the Twin Cities amongst first generation Latinos like myself), I find the tradition endearing and try to maintain it with my own two daughters.
As with all Mexican (and Latino) traditions & holidays, there is an associated food, ROSCA DE REYES! All over the country, in every city and in every little town, bakeries offer the Rosca de Reyes, an oval shaped (wreath like similar to the Three Kings Cake) decorated with candied fruit. Roscas come in various sizes and most bakeries sell them in various sizes depending on the size of the group to serve.
Hidden inside each Rosca, are plastic figurines of the Baby Jesus. The Baby is hidden because it symbolizes the need to find a secure place where Jesus could be born, each person cuts their own slice of the Rosca. Most people try to avoid to get the baby, because
whoever gets the baby figurine is typically to hostand invite everyone present to another celebration on February 2, Dia de la Candelaria or Candle mass day!
Mexican bakeries throughout the Twin Cities will sell Rosca de Reyes, at El Burrito Mercado we sell it in three sizes, they are available in stock in the bakery (and at our Midtown Global Market location)or you can call now to special order yours to assure you get one!
This is a great way to continue the holiday spirit with family & friends!