El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) brings back so many memories of my childhood in Mexico. Days before the Kings’ arrival on January 6, my brother, sister and I would sit around the dining room table and write a letter requesting one toy to Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, the magi, also known as the wise men.
If “the wise men” agreed that we had been well behaved throughout the year, the requested gift would be delivered and placed next to our shoes under the bed to be discovered the next day. The rest of the day was celebrated with a family gathering and a feast of rosca de reyes with hot chocolate, champurrado or atole.
The rosca de reyes, or three kings cake, is a circular-shaped pastry decorated with colorful dried fruit to resemble gems on a king’s crown. The never-ending shape of the bread symbolizes God’s eternal love. When the bread is baked, little baby figurines are hidden in the dough. This symbolizes the event when Mary and Joseph hid Baby Jesus from King Herod. According to Christian tradition, the wise men visited Baby Jesus after his birth bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
When the cake is cut and distributed among guests, one or more guests will receive the hidden baby figurine in their slice. The person who receives the “baby” must host a the presentation of Baby Jesus on February 2. Also known as Día de la Candelaria or Candleman’s Day.
Now that my son is a old enough to understand, we love to celebrate this beautiful holiday. The day is so festive and full of happiness. I love to see his face when he discovers little toys inside his shoes as we retell the story of the three wise men.
JCPenney is celebrating el Día de los Tres Reyes Magos with their video series Real Holidays by Real Families by sharing holiday stories of families just like mine. Check out the video below and see how Alondra’s family awaits the arrival of the Tres Reyes Magos. For more information, visit the JCPenney Latino Facebook page.