Epiphany a tradition among the Latin community

Posted On January 6, 2007

Filed under News Americas

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Amalia Tapia said that her family will celebrate Dia de Reyes today with a rosca and hot chocolate. In Mexico, the Day of the Kinds, also called the Epiphany, is a celebration for children who receive toys and sweets.

Miguel Ayala, helps Panaderia El Progresso owner Alfonso Herrera box up Rosca De Reyes on Friday. The Springdale business owner expects to sell 800 to 1,000 of the sweat breads today as local Hispanic residents celebrate El Dia De Reyes (Epiphany).

Jorge Vera, said in Mexico City the tradition of Epiphany is more established. He said parents give toys to their children, and in Guadalajara, Jalisco, his hometown, they also gave toys to neighbors’ children. “I remember that we used to leave a shoe out the night before the Epiphany, and they would be filled with toys and candy,” the Springdale resident said.

Alfonso Herrera, owner of the bakery El Progreso, said for today’s celebration he will bake dozens of roscas, or ring bread, for his customers.

“Last year, we baked only a few roscas and customers were asking me for more after we had sold everything. This year we have already announced that we will have many more to sell,” Herrera said. “We bake the roscas with dried fruit on top, such as figs from Mexico. We also put small figures of babies inside, which is a request from customers,” he said.

According to tradition, this sweet bread was once used by friars to evangelize. A small doll, representing the Christ child, is baked into the bread, “hidden”, to symbolize the hiding of the infant from King Herod’s troops on the day of Los Santos Inocentes, the Holy Innocents.

In Latin countries, the person who finds the doll in his piece of rosca must throw a party on February 2, Candelaria Day, offering tamales and atole (a hot sweet drink thickened with corn flour) to guests.

The Day of the Kings is the day a group of kings or magi of the Bible arrived to worship and bring gifts to baby Jesus after following a star in the heavens. Legend says the three kings: Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar, representing Europe, Arabia and Africa, arrived on horse, camel and elephant bringing, respectively, gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus.