The holidays may have come and gone, but many Hispanic kids are still eagerly awaiting their presents.
On Los Reyes Magos — known as “the three wise men” or “the three kings” in English — children receive gifts on the Day of the Epiphany, Jan. 6. The date marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas immortalized by the song of the same name and commemorates the three kings who traveled from distant lands to bring gifts to the infant Jesus.
For Hispanic families, Los Reyes Magos is a very special time of year, as they gather together to enjoy and share a slice of “Rosca de Reyes,” a sweet bread-like cake shared to celebrate Epiphany. The bread is also part of celebrations in other parts of the world. In Catalonia, Spain, it is known as “tortel,” while in southern France, it is known as “Gâteau des Rois,” “Corona dels Reis,” or “Reiaume.”
Typically, the Rosca de Reyes is accompanied by hot chocolate or another hot drink. How the rosca is sliced is important. In some countries, each rosca has a couple of plastic figurines hidden inside, so whoever gets the pieces with the figurines must commit to sponsoring a get-together to eat tamales on Candlemas Day, which is celebrated on Feb. 2.
Los Reyes Magos has become a great tradition for many Hispanic families and is celebrated throughout Latin America. While each country has its own special ways to observe the day, most families celebrate by giving gifts and eating traditional dishes.