This delicious and airy bread is slightly sweet and topped with dried fruit, crumb topping and sugar. There are a couple baby Jesus dolls hidden inside and tradition says that whoever finds it has to prepare the next holiday fiesta.
The bread is associated with the festival of Epiphany (January 6th) in the Christmas season. Catholic tradition states that the journey of the three kings to Bethlehem took twelve days (the Twelve Days of Christmas), and that they arrived to honor the Christ Child on Epiphany. The equation is 12 days after the birth of Christ.
This is also the traditional day for children to receive their holiday gifts. Today many children receive gifts on Christmas and on Three Kings Days. This is one time when the merger of holiday celebrations is a bonus for the children of Mexico.
Beware, enjoying a slice of Rosca de Reyes carries with it a potential responsibility. Whoever finds a baby Jesus in the Rosca de Reyes must take it to the nearest church on February 2 (Día de la Candelaria). The finder of the Niño Dios (baby doll) has the responsibility to take the family as well to church and celebrate the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
According to the Jewish tradition, an infant is presented to God in the temple 40 days after his birth. Día de la Candelaria on February 2 means the Light of Christ presented to God.
Nowadays, the people who get the figurines in their piece of the cake usually agree to make a party on February 2, and to provide the guests with tamales and atole. Once again, the combination of different religious practices creates another celebration.
You can find the Three Kings Cake in Puerto Vallarta in all the supermarkets around town, including WalMart, Ley's and Soriana, with the dolls already inside.
(Photo Source: SpanglishBaby.com)
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