In the Riviera Maya, most children look forward to El Dia de Reyes, or Three Kings Day, more than December 25. Discover why – and learn about this special holiday that celebrates the arrival of the three wise men to Jesus’ manger in Bethlehem.
Three Kings Day in the Riviera Maya: Los Tres Reyes Magos
You might be surprised to find out that many children in Mexico look forward to January 6 more than of December 25. That’s because January 6 is El Dia de Reyes, or Three Kings Day – and it’s the traditional date when gifts are exchanged.
El Dia de Reyes: Gold, Frankincense, & Myrrh
In much of the Catholic world, Three Kings Day is known as Epiphany, and it marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and the holiday season. Legend tells us that twelve days after the birth of Jesus, three wise men (or los tres reyes magos) arrived from the east bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Mexico’s Santa Claus: Modern Gifts & Holiday Treats
It’s not Santa Claus from the North Pole, but the three magi who leave gifts for children in much of Mexico, including the Riviera Maya. Shoes are filled with candies and treats, and children receive special gifts – just like the Christ child did in the manger.
Rosca de Reyes: King’s Cake
The holiday is also celebrated with a special oval-shaped cake – a dense, delicious Rosca de Reyes. Along with fruits and nuts, inside the cake is hidden a tiny plastic baby to symbolize Jesus. Along with King’s Cake, families eat traditional corn tamales and tasty hot chocolate.