Jan 7, 2008

Rosca de Reyes

A few days ago I decided to write our AIMers once a week with a cultural fact or cultural experience to help them get to know Mexico better. I have found that learning about the culture you are in is so important. Mexicans are very proud of their heritage and culture. My Mexican friends are always very honored to teach me about their culture. They like for us to take part in cultural experiences with them. I decided that instead of e-mailing our AIMers every week I would just make it a blog entry. That way the rest of you can also learn a little about Mexico.
Today I was going to write about Three King's Day (Jan 6th - Dia de los Reyes). I found a great article on line and decided to just cut and paste a section of the article for you.

Three Kings Day falls on January 6, day of the Epiphany.
In Mexico, it is traditionally on the 6th of January that children receive the majority of their gifts, rather than Christmas, although this unfortunately has been changing with the North American commercialization of the gift-giving process.
Three King's Day commemorates the Three Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and the giving of gifts on this day is the re-enactment of this journey and their arrival in Bethlehem.
A special sweet bread, called the Rosca de Reyes, studded with bits of candied fruit, is baked and eaten on January 6. A small doll which represents the Christ child is baked into the dough. The figure symbolizes the hiding of the child from Herod's army. These tiny figurines were originally fashioned out of porcelain or glass and could come in many cute forms and colors; nowadays, again with the modernization of the ritual, the little dolls are much more likely to be mass-produced amorphous bits of plastic.
Whoever finds the figure in their slice of sweet bread on Three King's Day is supposed to give a party on February 2nd, Candlemas Day, or Día de la Candelaria, offering tamales and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with corn flour) to the guests.

We were invited to my friend Glenda's house (she is pictured in my entry of gingerbread houses). She was smart and hid 5 dolls in the bread so that all the children would be able to find one. Now its up to the kids to throw a party!! Let's see how that turns out!
Here are the kids in their Texas Tech outfits celebrating Tech's Bowl win.


Timbra Wiist Owner/Photographer said...

thanks for the culture lesson. i remember when we were little and we learned about epiphany and then we tried to talk my mom into giving us gifts in our shoes on that day TOO. it lasted for one year! anyway, got your ADORABLE christmas card (my "overseas" ones still have not made it in the mail, though they are just sitting here waiting for postage. . and i'm sitting here waiting for a paycheck so i can grant them that one wish of being sent away from my house). . . anyway, cory in the photo made mike laugh out loud. . .

love you guys LOTS
timbra (and fam)

kim said...

teehee rosca rey aka fruit cake. you did a good job of explaining the whole thing. in portugal it's called bolo rei and not too long ago they would bake gold jewelry, etc. into the bread, gold being one of the gifts offered and all. i am sure it's pretty rare to get actual gold in your fruit cake these days in portugal, but it could happen. so, the moral of the story is..if you go to portugal eat fruit cake :)