January 6th is el Día de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day / Day of the Wise men, the day that the three wisemen arrived bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. In Mexico, children write a letter to the magos, telling them what they would like as a gift and send it off attached to a balloon on January 5th.
Last night at the mall Edson and I saw lots of kids walking around with their balloons (given out by Build-A-Bear I believe) and families lined up to get the kids' picture taken with the 3 magos (I'm assuming in the same set-up where Santa was not too long ago).
The presents are left during the night for the children to wake up to the morning of the 6th. I'm told that years ago children received presents on Three Kings Day, but not on Christmas. However, blame it on globalization, t.v., immigration, or whatever you'd like, but nowadays most kids are visited by both Santa and the Three Kings bearing gifts during the holidays.
On the 6th, people share a rosca, a bread in the shape of a circle or oval with at least one baby Jesus figurine hidden inside. Whoever finds the baby Jesus in their piece is supposed to provide the tamales and the chocolate (like hot chocolate) or atole(a masa-based drink) for everyone on February 2nd, which is Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas or the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple).
|baby Jesus figurine from my piece of a rosca |
from the grocery store
So now I owe the grocery store tamales on February 2nd?? It wasn't the first time I've gotten the figurine either - I did in Maltrata when I was there for Three Kings Day back in 2012! (here for the post).
(Side note - Generally for Christians in the US, January 6th is recognized as Epiphany and the day that the Wise Men arrived, though it is not celebrated to the same extent as it is in Mexico.)
Today wraps up the "Guadalupe-Reyes" holidays. Thought you had it good in the US with Christmas through New Year's? Here the holidays begin December 12 for the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (hence "Guadalupe") and end el Día de los Reyes Magos ("Reyes").