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Rosca de Reyes

Slices of the sweet bread include baby figurines. If you get one, consider yourself lucky!


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Since long ago, sweet bread with candied fruits atop has been a symbol of Three King's Day (Los Tres Reyes), known elsewhere as Epiphany, the closing day of Christmas season. This holiday represents the Bible episode when the three Wise Men or Magi Kings gave presents to baby Jesus. The name of the pastry "Rosca de Reyes" means the "wreath of a king". The dried and candied fruits that adorn the bread resemble numerous jewels that a crown would have. In fact, the Three Kings rather than Santa or St Nickolas are in charge of presents in Latin America and Spain, so this is Latino kids' favorite holiday.

The most essential element of the pastry is a small doll figure of baby Jesus which is hidden inside the bread from the evil King Herod. The custom refers to another Bible story about Herod's order to kill all the newborns in Bethlehem. Then, Joseph warned by an angel, escaped to Egypt with Mary and the Baby, and they had been hiding there until Herod's death.

In the evening of January 6, sliced sweet bread is served to everyone, usually with a hot chocolate. Whoever discovers the baby figurines are obliged to cook or buy tamales for a tamalada party at Candlemas, taking place on February 2. King's Day is the main occasion to try Rosca de Reyes, but it may also be found in local bakeries from the very beginning of the Christmas season. Mexico City with its numerous bakeries, pastry shops, and restaurants, must be the best place to try a great variety of Rosca de Reyes.

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