Thursday, January 6, 2011

Los Reyes Magos

Meaning: The Three Wise Men

I woke up today to find my shoe still standing on the floor. It has been so long since I have left it out in the living room the night of the fifth and wake up to find it on top of my gifts early morning on the sixth. I remember we even had a special place to put them and a certain order too. My mom would tell us often times to leave the pair so they could take it with them. When I still believed, I was so scared that would happen that I made sure the other shoe was not anywhere in sight. May I add, I always left a shoe at my grandparents' house too; and, there were also the random godparents' at whose house the three wise men also left me a gift or two some years without leaving my shoe -which was rather strange at the time.
Mexico is a secular catholic country, so in tradition of the catholic belief that the three wise men brought gifts to Jesus upon his birth, children in Mexico are taught to believe that they will also receive gifts the day in which Jesus did as a baby. On this note, children in Mexico do not write a letter to Santa, they write a letter to one of the three wise men -Melchor, Gaspar or Baltazar-.* Despite receiving gifts every year, I don't ever remember writing a letter. I just waited for my gifts expecting them to know what I wanted. I admit this might be the result of me discovering that my parents were buying my gifts when I was six. That was the year they brought me a house cleaning set -broom, mop, bucket, towels- and a lot of candy!
When I was still in Mexico, on the night of the sixth we had dinner much like supper on christmas' eve or new year's eve. It was followed by the cutting of the Rosca de Reyes. This was always held at my grandparents' house, and there were other members of our extended family invited. Everyone has to cut their own piece of the rosca as it is hiding a tiny plastic doll inside and whoever cuts into it has to make tamales for everyone there present on February second, which is the day the Candelaria is celebrated. 

My favorite gift ever was a bike I received when I was 11 even though at this point I already knew my parents were buying the gifts. The bike was my favorite gift ever because it was the only time my gift was exactly what I had asked for! Of course, tons of candy were added for good measure as well as my first journal.

This is the rosca my mom bought for today. I hope it tastes as delicious as it looks! 

p.s. January 6th is also the day baby Jesus seats. In my hometown, there is a town wide party where a family who was previously chosen feeds the whole town tamales and the rosca.

*After my sister walked into my room and ran away with my shoe to put outside for the reyes magos last night in hopes of receiving a gift, she came back with a letter she wrote where she stated that we wanted/deserved a gift as we had been very good this year. So I noticed the interesting fact that children in Mexico have been tricking the reyes magos with their letters. The format is the same as those written to Santa except while the children around the world write their letters towards the end of the year, children in Mexico can do it after the new year. The implication is simple: it is easier to prove one has behaved well during a couple of days than it is to prove the same occurred during the past twelve months! Best believe Mexican children take advantage of that! :D


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