(photos taken: January 6, 2015)
I'm sure my fellow Mexican readers are familiar with this holiday, and rosca. I'll still give a break down about it though.
DISCLAIMER: Stop reading if you don't want to read about religion, if you have other beliefs just respect it and exit the page.
So, January 6th marks 12 days after Christmas and when the Tres Reyes Magos, Three Wise Men, traveled to see baby Jesus by following the star of Bethlehem. They greeted the baby with different gifts, each one symbolizing different things. So just like we receive gifts from Santa Claus on Christmas Day, in Mexico children receive gifts from the Three Wise Men on January 6th.
Dia De Reyes comes along with Rosca. Although I always forget which one comes first. You either eat Rosca the 6th, leave your shoes out traditionally leaving hay or some food for the animals that come with the Reyes Magos. And in the morning when you wake up you find gifts. That, or you wake up with gifts and that same night you eat Rosca. Yes I know, I'm so informative!
Okay, now the story behind Rosca. Rosca is this large bread shaped like an oval. On top it has dried fruit and sugar. Inside, depending on the size, are a certain number of baby dolls representing baby Jesus. The story is that the king/ruler was killing all baby boys who were recently born at the time. So to protect baby Jesus they had to hide him, which is why he is hiding inside your bread. Many people complain if the baby appears in their slice of bread. Why? If you get the baby, its actually a blessing! You're supposed to take him to church on Dia De La Candelaria, February 2nd (my birthday, holla) and also make a cena (dinner) and host like a dinner celebration. Traditionally the person makes tamales and champurrado, I think everyone knows what that is, no translation needed!
The way we do things at home is on the morning of the presents, it's never anything too big, I mean we celebrate Christmas 12 days prior! It's just something small, there's ALWAYS candy involved and favorite drinks. For example this year in my shoes I received mascara and eyeliner, I received two gift cards, I received a good amount of Mexican candy, mandarin Jarrito because that's the best flavor, and I believe that's it. So a few goodies and a small "toy". Rosca is sooo delicious! Everyone in the house looks forward to it, not just because of the tradition but because of the bread! The panaderias (bakeries) are so busy previous days and nights getting ready to make all the roscas. I remember the time we were in Tijuana a nearby bakery won the award for making the biggest rosca in town. How big? I don't remember lol But it was pretty big, they had pictures and they all gave a slice to people who attended that day.
We eat rosca with champurrado or hot chocolate. I love dipping the bread into the drink so it can get a bit soggy, so good! I don't know if it's because my birthday lands on the day of the Calendaria, or it's just "luck", but I ALWAYS get baby Jesus! I always have for as long as I can remember! We either cook at home or we go out to eat to celebrate both the day and my birthday. Which I just recently noticed, why can't we do it two separate days, the more food the better!
For many people the holidays end on New Years. For us they don't end until February 2nd! And also in many Hispanic houses, it's until that day that the Christmas tree and nacimiento go down. I was just talking about this with my mum a few days ago: Most Americans just celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, maybe Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years. We celebrate Halloween, Fiestas de Octubre, Dia De Muertos, Thanksgiving (being in this country), Dia de La Virgen featuring posadas, Christmas, New Year, Dia de Reyes, and Dia De Calendaria. Another reason why I love Mexico because they stick to traditions and are very festive and patriotic! I need to live in Mexico for at least a full year to enjoy all the festivities and celebrate them how it's supposed to be!