What is Los Reyes Magos?

What is “Los Reyes Magos”?

Did you know that in Mexico, children obtain a second Christmas? That’s right! A second Christmas. On January 6th, children await for Los Reyes Magos. But who are they exactly?

Well, Mexico is a heavily Catholic country, and this both cultural and religious celebration represents the “Reyes Magos”, or as known in English, the “Three Kings”. 

If you are not Catholic, let me introduce you to the brief story:

It is said that three kings followed the North Star to the town of Bethlehem to welcome baby Jesus into the world and brought him gifts! Melchior, a king of European descent, gave him the gift of gold to represent that he was the “King” and traveled on a camel; Gaspar originates from Asia and traveled on a horse to gift him incense to represent his divine status; Balthazar was from Africa, and gave him myrrh to represent his mortality.

How is it celebrated?

It is quite similar to Christmas. Children write their letter to the Reyes Magos and receive their gifts on January 6th! However, it is tradition to buy a type of bread called “rosca” that contains dried fruit. The oval shape represents the eternal love for God, the dried fruit represent the jewels in the crowns of the kings, and there is a little surprise inside… It’s a plastic baby! And no, it’s not the ones that went viral on TikTok, its a plastic white baby that represent baby Jesus. But here is the catch… you don’t want to get the plastic baby in your piece, because otherwise you are stuck making tamales for everyone for Dia de la Candelaria on February 2nd, and you don’t want to do that, do you? Nevertheless, Rosca is a very delicious treat that goes perfectly with chocolate abuelita (Mexican hot chocolate).

My Experience:

As a child, it was exciting to wake up and run outside to catch the possibility of the animals leaving some footprints behind, and then going to look under the tree to find out what the three kings left for me. Dia de Los Reyes Magos also brought me something to look forward to after Christmas. Drinking some chocolate abuelita in the cold weather brought me comfort, and the suspense from cutting into the Rosca, hoping that there is not a click on the knife, and to not feel a hard plastic after the first bite brought me so much joy, (unless I got the plastic baby, then it sucked for a bit).

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