January 6 is El Dia de los Reyes (Day of the Kings), which commemorates the day the three wise men went to visit baby Jesus and present their gifts. This day really starts to end the Christmas holiday in Mexico... and after this day everyone starts to head back to work!
The Christmas traditions in Mexico will usually call for gifts to be exchanged on Dia de Reyes instead of on Christmas day.. which is when the gifts were brought to baby Jesus by the three magi.
However, you may also see gifts being exchanged on Christmas day depending on the region or local customs.
You want me to eat what?!
El dia de los Reyes (Day of the Kings) is traditionally celebrated with a "Rosca de Reyes" (crown of kings). A Rosca is an oval piece of bread with no center.. sort of made to look like a crown.
On this special occasion, it's usually a tradition to have a small gathering and eat the Rosca de Reyes. It is actually quite delicious and has yummy fruits baked on top.
The funny thing about the rosca is that it also comes with something very peculiar inside. A little surprise of sorts..
Don't worry.. it's nothing bad. The bread actually contains a few little plastic toy dolls hidden inside. Watch out for them.
If you happen to end up with a piece of rosca with one these little figurines inside (which represent baby Jesus) then you are supposed to host a small party on February 2. This is called the Day of the Candles or Dia de la Candelaria.
Yes..yet another party! And you'd better keep your eyes opened and I'll tell you why..
When Antonio was younger (so he says..); his family had a small party on Dia de los Reyes to celebrate and eat the rosca with punch. Remember, that whoever gets a piece of rosca with the little man inside is supposed to host a small party later on.
Antonio cut his piece of bread off and to his dismay he got stuck with one of the pieces with the "little man" inside. He wanted to save his parents the trouble of throwing a party and guess what he did?
When no one was looking, he took the little plastic man out of his piece and shoved it back into the rosca for some other person to get.
I started to laugh when he told me this.. as I'm sure he wasn't the first either. If you're ever at a Dia de los Reyes party, be sure to keep your eyes carefully peeled. Otherwise some little rascal may try to get himself out of hosting the next party!
(Stay tuned for more Christmas in Mexico activities to come!)