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Three Kings Day

Posted on January 1, 2012 by Yury Diana Di Pasquale in Events in Merida and the Yucatan

Three Kings Day in Mexico

After Christmas and the New Year’s Day celebrations are over, Mexican families still have a very special date to commemorate and enjoy. On January 6, most of the Hispanic world celebrates El Dia De los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day), the Epiphany. The three Wise Men (Magi) are: Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar. One of them rides a horse; the other rides a camel; and the other rides an elephant. This day commemorates the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem , arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus.

But for Mexican families, they also come bearing gifts for the children. A couple of days earlier, the children write their letters to the Wise Men, or to their favorite Rey Mago: Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltazar, asking for the presents they would like to receive.

On the night of January 5, before going to bed the children place their old shoes under their beds or in the living room under the Christmas tree (yes it is still up) where the Wise Men will leave them their presents. Outside the house, some families place hay and a bucket with water for the Wise Men’s transportation, and even some cookies and milk for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar.

For the adults and children there is hot chocolate and the Rosca de Reyes, an oval sweetbread, decorated with candied fruit and a Baby Jesus figurine which is hidden inside the oval sweet bread. Most of the people will make their own rosca, but I find it easier to go to Wal-Mart and pick one up. Each person takes a turn at cutting their own piece of the bread. The person who gets the baby Jesus figurine has to host a party for their family and friends on February 2. This is called the Candelaria or Candle mass day where they serve homemade Mexican tamales, drinks and other goodies.

So while the rest of the world has moved on and packed away their Christmas things in early January, here in Mexico they are still celebrating the birth of Jesus, thinking of the Three Wise Men and having fun with their families. Feliz Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos (Happy Three Kings Day). By:Yury Diana Di Pasquale

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