Dia de Los Reyes (King’s Day)
Have you ever celebrated Dia de Los Reyes and eaten Rosca de Reyes (King’s Cake)? I am ashamed to admit I have never celebrated this holiday nor have I ever purchased or let alone made Rosca de Reyes. I feel like such an unworthy “Mexicana”. I wasn’t born in Mexico, but still feel very Mexican. My grandma who was born in Chihuahua shared so many wonderful memories, stories, and traditions with us, but for some reason never shared the details of this holiday with us. Maybe she never celebrated it to this extent while she lived in Mexico? Now that I know the history behind this special day I’d like to incorporate, yet another Mexican tradition, with my immediate family.
While on this journey of exploring Mexican cuisine we have come across so many amazing Mexican traditions and recipes — Makes me wish we lived in Mexico to really embrace it all firsthand. My sister and I have determined that Mexicans have a love affair with food and this holiday is another perfect example of it.
Dia de Los Reyes is celebrated on January 6thto honor the Three Wise Men. Children receive the majority of their gifts from the Three Kings rather than from Santa Claus at Christmas. Before going to bed the children place their old shoes with a wish list on top for the Three Kings. In the morning the shoes are filled with toys and gifts from the Three Kings. They must have big feet in Mexico. Isn’t that just adorable? When I told my daughter about this tradition she was very excited to have another opportunity to receive gifts. She is working on her wish list as I type.
The Rosca de Reyes is a ring-shaped Mexican bread. I’ve read it’s similar to fruitcake, but tastier. I’m one of the few people out there who loves fruitcake so this bread intrigues me even more. A tiny plastic baby doll is baked inside the bread, representing baby Jesus. Hiding the baby symbolizes the hiding of the infant Jesus from King Herod’s troops.
Tradition dictates that whoever receives the slice of rosca with the baby Jesus in it, is obligated to having a dinner party on February 2nd, Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day) where tamales and atole are served.
I was up late last night trying to find the perfect Rosca de Reyes recipe to make for my family, but there are so many variations, I decided to share some of my favorites with you. I will let you decide which one you would like to make for your familia.
Do you all remember Kathleen? She won our recipe contest for her grilled nopal with carrot, jícama, and beet salad recipe. Well this talented chica caught my eye again with her Mini of Rosca de Reyes Frangipane recipe. I love the idea of mini roscas and the frangipane spread made with almonds and rum. It made my eyes twinkle and my tummy growl. YUM!
Another recipe that got my attention was Ingrid Hoffmann’s simple version. I’m very visual and I am happy that I found a video recipe. I also found an English version of it here. If you are reading this at work (tisk, tisk) and are blocked from videos, check out the written recipe here.
But I have to say my absolute favorite looking recipe is this one on guiacongusto. Doesn’t it just make your mouth water? Maybe it’s just me, but it looks so moist, and gooey, and all those raisins…WOW. I could not find the recipe for this Rosca de Reyes on their website, but it gives me an idea of how I plan to make my own. I plan to make mine look like this (hopefully) with the addition of dates and walnuts, drizzled with cajeta and topped with some candied figs.
It looks like I will be busy in the test kitchen this weekend coming up with a Muy Bueno version for my familia and yours. Although the recipe will come after Dia de Los Reyes I’m excited about sharing my findings. Better late than never, right?
Do you celebrate Dia de Los Reyes? We’d love to hear how you celebrate or hear from you about your memories.
Feliz Dia de Los Reyes!
Pssst…don’t forget to order the 2011 Muy Bueno Calendar here.
13 Comments on “Dia de Los Reyes (King’s Day)”
My Grandmma turns 100 on January 20 and she was the first to introduce me to many traditions as a child. I grew up and moved away always visiting the Rio Grande Valley but this year. I celebrated my first El Dia de Los Reyes with some friends and I got the first Baby Jesus – I will be hosting my first Dia De la Candelaria – thanks so much for the recipes!!!
WOWZA 100? Thats so wonderful! Please wish her a blessed birthday from the trio of Muy Bueno.
Our grandma passed away at the young age of 98. She was amazing and she will live in our hearts forever.
I will also be hosting Dia De la Candelaria and look forward to planning the menu.
Since I´m only a wannabe Mexican, I´ve never celebrated this growing up in El Salvador, either. However, the 5 years I lived in Mexico just cemented a love-affair for their culture and foods. My husband is Mexican, so I´m doing the best I can to celebrate these traditions with our daughter.
I took a Rosca to her daycare and have another one waiting for her at home!
Thanks for the links to all the recipes!
Ana: Your daughter is one lucky little girl to have such beautiful culture from you and your hubby. She will treasure all these memories forever! Take care and try not to work so hard! I should take my own advice. Jaja!
I never really celebrated 3 kings day at home. But my parents would leave our Christmas tree up until after Jan 6th in honor of the celebration. I started eating pan de reyes at work. When I worked at Channel 9 one of our reporters from Juarez (Roberto) would bring in a king cake every year.. and we’d all dig in. One year the guy who got the baby Jesus had one crazy party on Feb 2nd. He decorated his house with baby dolls and served baby food cocktails.. not sure that was very traditional, but it was lots of fun.
My Grandma who lived in Juarez, would host a Dia De la Candelaria fiesta ever year. She had a beautiful nativity scene set up, made with real pine trees and an almost life size baby Jesus. She would dress him and put a crown on his head. The scene was party’s center piece. I only remember going to the celebration a few times, when I got older. As a child I was not a fan of going to Juarez. I’m sad to say I missed out.
Lucky for me I have friends in San Diego who are hosting a Dia De los Reyes gathering tonight.. I’ll let u know if I get the baby Jesus.
Keep teaching the traditions to your kids.. I have good memories of it, and I’m sure they will to one day.
Hola Amiga! We always took down our Christmas decorations after January 6th too, but I never knew why. I thought it was just a good excuse to procrastinate. LOL.
Let me know how the party goes tonight. I wish I would have planned ahead and hosted something tonight. And here I thought I was going to eat healthier…Rosca here I come!!!
Be prepared to host if you get the baby Jesus. I’ve heard that some people even swallow baby Jesus so that they do not have to host. Crazy, huh?! I’m guessing after Thanksgiving, Posadas, and Christmas who has the energy and $$$ to host yet another fiesta. Have a wonderful time tonight!
Happy Three Kings Day, Yvette! That last photo is intriguing, I must say, and unlike anything I have seen in Mexico. Do you think the dough is rolled out into a rectangle and filled with fruit, then rolled up, then the outer layer is slashed with a knife to reveal the fruit? It looks so good and fruity.
Three Kings Day marks the end of the holiday. Today I will put away the decorations and lights. Thank goodness I made a huge batch of roscas to extend the holiday treats a bit longer.
And muchas gracias for mentioning my mini roscas with frangipane. I just devoured one with my morning coffee.
P.S. Because of the high fat content of this bread (eggs and butter), it firms up when cool. Toasting it (or warming in the micro-wave) really brings back the tenderness.
Feliz Dia de Los Reyes Kathleen. I am going to try and make mine more of a wreath braid — kinda like a Danish pastry. It might not be a traditional Mexican bread, but I’m looking for a new spin on it 🙂 My plan is to use raisins, dates, and walnuts as a filling. Topped with candied figs and then I’ll frost/glaze with cajeta. I wouldn’t consider myself a “baker” so this will be a huge challenge for me, but I look forward to it!!!
Feliz Dia de Reyes to you too! Yes, I celebrate this ocassion although not as much as I used when I lived in Puerto Rico. I actually wrote a post about this today too. You have to love how we extend the holiday season about another month! 🙂
I read your post Angie!!! I loved reading your sweet memories. It reminded of my childhood — in good times and in bad there were always presents under our Christmas tree . Its so great to appreciate what our parents did for us as children. Thank you for sharing your memories! ~ Yvette
Yes ,we do.In my hometown we celebrate in the plaza the day before Los Reyes Magos with music, free food for the people who comes to the festia.Today was the 109 years of celebrating el “Velorio de Reyes”.I hope you have a great Feliz Dia de Reyes.Desde Camuy,Puerto Rico que el Todopoderoso
bendiga tu camino en Navidad y Año Nuevo,
que haya paz en tu corazon, alegria en tu alma,
amor y felicidad en tu vida. Que Dios vierta sobre tu
familia un cofre de bendiciones donde reine la armonia,
el respeto, lo valores entre todos. Que se logren sus
sueños y que haya prosperidad en tus dias. Son nuestros
mejores deseos… Yvette y Fam.
Felicidades!! Que Dios te Bendiga y te Guarde..
Yvette, que bonito nombre tienes. Jaja!
Its sounds like a wonderful fiesta! Thanks for sharing! Gracias por tus bendiciones!!! ~ Yvette