The Day of the Three Kings
January 6, 2017
As in many parts of the world, January 6 has a special meaning in the Mexican culture.
The Epiphany or commonly known in Mexico as “Los Tres Reyes Magos”, is a religious festivity that reminds us of the biblical story of the Three Kings who visited baby Jesus. Thre are many traditions associated with the journey of the three wise men Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar; who rode a horse, a camel, and an elephant.
To celebrate this tradition, children receive gifts to symbolize the presents offered by the Three Kings (gold, myrrh, and frankincense) to baby Jesus. On the eve of Epiphany, children eagerly anticipate the gifts they’re hoping to receive. A single shoe is left outside of a child’s bedroom door and is filled with candies during the night. In some cases, an offering of water is left for the camel and horse, while peanuts are left for the Elephant.
Children are not the only ones who celebrate this tradition. Family and friends gather for a special traditional meal called, “Rosca de Reyes," a ring-shaped cake topped with dried fruit with a small, plastic figure of baby Jesus hidden inside the cake. The person who finds the small figure in the bread is considered “blessed” and must buy Tamales for another celebration on (Candlemas Day, Día de la Candelaria) on February 2. There are also street party celebrations in local communities where you can find the traditional Rosca de Reyes and "Atole" (a tasty drink prepared with cornmeal gruel).
Join the celebration on January 6. On this special night, take a moment to enjoy a delicious Rosca de Reyes, a hot cup of Atole, and the company of family and friends to celebrate the traditions pertaining to the Three King's arrival.