Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rosca de Reyes

I know this post comes in a little late, but I wanted to share with you the Mexican tradition of Rosca de Reyes which takes place on January 6th. The Rosca de Reyes is a very elaborated bread that takes a lot of time and effort to prepare, it usually takes a couple of hours to knead the dough and a couple of days to put it all together. This bread is usually decorated with candied winter fruits such as figs and a delicious sugar paste. The traditional shape of this bread was round but over the years people have been making it oval as well, both shapes are accepted. This ring shape bread symbolizes the sky. People used to put inside the bread little porcelaine figurines which represented baby Jesus, in some cases people inserted beans as a way to keep costs down, but as everyone ended up eating the little beans, now we use little plastic figurines which are more practical and cheap.

This tradition is about celebrating the arrival of the 3 wise men and is meant to end up all the Christmas Celebrations (from the born of Jesus on Dec 25th until the arrival of the 3 wise men on Jan 6). Long story short to me this is just another excuse to continue celebrating, eating delicious traditional food and spending more time with your family. The fun part of these tradition other than eating the delicious bread, is actually cutting your slice. Everyone sits around the table and tries to slice that piece that will be free of baby Jesus figurines as those lucky enough to get them, will need to come together and organize a feast for everyone else on February 2nd which is Candlemas Day or "Dia de la Candelaria". Of course, this feast will consist of Tamales and Chocolate Caliente or Atole. Getting the little baby Jesus figurines is meant to bring you luck for the rest of the year, although I know some people who aren't really looking to be that lucky. Believe me, making this feast and pay for the tamales is not an easy job to get done. In the past and still nowadays the tradition states that before having the big dinner, those who got these figurines are supposed to take baby Jesus and present him to both, the Church and their community.

Mexico is one of the few countries where this Rosca de Reyes bread is prepared. This tradition was passed to us from the Spaniards during the time of the mixing races.
Some say that the tradition of eating this type of bread comes from the Romans who prepared it to their God "Saturn" who was meant to eat this bread to prepare himself for the harsh winter. They welcomed their God with this ring like shape bread that was filled with all sorts of winter fruits to give him energy. Later on, this tradition was passed to the Spaniards who then made it relevant to fit their catholic beliefs and on the same token passed it on to the Mexican people.
Other countries celebrate this tradition also on January 6th; the french for example, prepare the Gallette de Rois which was traditionally filled with goodies such as silver, gold, diamonds or porcelain.


  1. Lovely! Rosca de Reyes es one of the tastiest sweets in the Mexican cuisine. And it's great fun to share.


  2. Never even heard of this thanks for sharing this cool tradition and great pics.

  3. Oh look at that delicious rosca! It's never too late to share a good pedazo de rosca with your virtual friends :D

  4. Oh my it looks so delicious...You know before reading your blog I had never even known about this traditions let alone heard of this wonderful traditional food. So thanks to you. I'm a new reader and looking forward to experience Toronto cuisine through another Torontonian's eyes.

    Look forward to hearing from you


    Tashrin - A Toronto based personal style blog