Sunday, January 6, 2008
Rosca de Reyes
Tonight I was invited to my friends Javier and Belinda's house for "Rosca de Reyes". This is a Mexican tradition for Epiphany.
The Rosca de Reyes, "kings ring" is a crown-shaped sweet bread decorated with pieces of candied orange and lime resembling the jewels of a crown. It is often filled with nuts, figs, and cherries. Into this bread is baked 6 small plastic dolls symbolizing a secure place away from Herod´s army where the infant child could be born. As each piece is cut with a knife, symbolizing the danger in which the Baby Jesus was in, everyone carefully checks their slice, hopping they didn't get the figurine as they will need to host (I found 2 in my piece!), Candelaria or Candle mass day. This day, February 2, is exactly, 40 days after Christmas when the Virgin Mary was purified. The nativity scene is put away and the baby Jesus, in the form of a porcelain doll, is clothed in his christening gown and presented in church.
Traditionally in Mexico, Three Kings Day was the gift-giving time, rather than Christmas day. In some rural regions of Mexico it is customary for children to leave their shoes out on the night of January 5, often filling them with hay for the camels, in hopes that the Three Kings would be generous. Mexican children would awake on January 6 to find their shoes filled with toys and gifts. Today many will write a letter to the kings (or choose one king as their favorite) asking for their special gifts and will leave the letter on the eve of Three Kings Day in an old shoe, under a bed.
What are your traditions?