The other day my son asked “can we take the wreath off the door now?” To which I replied “no, not until after Dia de los Reyes!”
January 6th is “Dia de los Reyes Magos” also known as “Three Kings Day” or “Epiphany”. This holiday is celebrated throughout Latin America, Spain, and within the the Latino/Hispanic communities of the United States. The day marks the 12th day after Christmas and is the day when the Kings (Magi) arrived with gifts to present to the baby Jesus. So in this house, Christmas decorations don’t get put away until December 7th.
Traditionally, a few days prior to “Dia de los Reyes” children write letters to the Kings (Magi) with a request for a toy; then on the evening the 5th of January children leave their shoes out awaiting gifts from the Kings. January 5th is also the day when the wise men/kings are placed into the nativity scene. The For many the 6th of January is the day when gifts are exchanged rather than Christmas. This is also the day of a grand culinary feast.
Within the Mexican community the feast usually includes Tamales, mexican hot chocolate and the iconic “Rosca de Reyes” (Kings Cake).
“Rosca de Reyes” is a mexican sweet bread that is shaped ito a circle or oval to signify a wreath (Rosca is wreath is spanish) and also the shape of a the kings crowns. The “Rosca de Reyes” is baked with dried fruit on top to represent the jewels on the crowns and also holds a special surprise baked inside. A small plastic baby figurine that represents Jesus is placed inside the bread. The symbolism of the baby Jesus hidden inside of the bread is to that of hiding the birth Jesus as King Herod had ordered that all baby boy’s be murdered.
At the dinner celebration the “Rosca de Reyes” is served as the dessert and whoever finds the baby in their bread is then expected to host a dinner party for “Dia de la Candelaria” (Candlemas Day) on February 2nd.
In the United States, you can find “Rosca de los Reyes” bread in Hispanic bakeries and markets such as Superior, Northgate Gonzalez, El Super, El Toro and Cardenas or you can bake it yourself with this recipe from Mexicoinmykitchen.com or this fantastic looking recipe from MuyBuenoCookbook.com
You can get your kids in on the celebration with these great crafts & videos to further explain this tradition.
- Mommy Mestra – is a fantastic blog and has a great selection of Dia de los Reyes activity sheets, crafts, music and books.
Nick Jr. – Dora has a Three Kings Cake & Mexican Hot Chocolate recipes, coloring pages, crafts, party decorations and party invitations.
Highlights for Kids features a audio clip with Spain’s celebration of Three Kings Day.
DLTK’s Kids – is loaded with Three kings Day crafts, bible stories & songs.
- Crayola has a simple explanation of the holiday along with a simple camel craft and a Three Kings craft.