Mexican Santas: The Three Wise Men
Just when you thought that the holiday celebrations in Mexico were over we still have one more to go: The Day of The Three Wise Men. On January 6th most Mexicans celebrate the Epiphany (Día de Reyes), to remember the Three Wise Men’s journey as they followed the star to Bethlehem to find baby Jesus.
Each Magician –Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar– brought gifts to the Messiah: Melchor gave him gold as a symbol of royalty; Gaspar offered frankincense to the baby, symbolizing his Divine Nature and Baltazar gave him Myrrh, representing humility.
This is why kids from all over the country write a letter to the Wise Men the day before and leave it under the Christmas tree inside a shoe, hoping for a fantastic new toy. Nowadays – as a consequence of globalization– Mexican kids can look forward to two celebrations where, if they have behaved all year long, mystical characters will bring them gifts and a piece of happiness.
But the festivity doesn’t end there. Many families will host a party, in which they will serve traditional food like tamales, delicious hot chocolate, and the traditional Rosca de Reyes – a ring-shaped bread covered in sugar and dried fruit to look like a crown. Inside the rosca a plastic baby doll is traditionally placed; if your slice of bread has the Little Jesus, it is your turn to invite everyone for atole and tamales on El Día de la Candelaría (February 2nd).
The hiding of the doll inside the cake represents the “hidden” location of Jesus’ birthplace in order to save his life from Herod’s decree. To find the doll means you will have excellent luck for the entire year and you will be blessed with positive events in your life.