This sweet treat is in the center of Dia de los Reyes Magos
According to Father Jorge Carranza, parish vicar of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Gainesville, the holiday symbolizes each person’s journey to Christ, just like the Magi’s own journey all those years ago.
“They are important because we are also on a journey looking for the newborn king in our lives, and we are always looking to try and see where we can find him,” he said. “Most of the time, these three individuals remind us that there are signs that speak to us so that we can be on the way to Jesus.
Carranza explained that in the Bible, the Magi were astronomers who followed the Star of Bethlehem to visit the newborn Jesus and fulfill Old Testament prophecy. As men traveled, they were guided by their own reasoning and faith in God.
Today the holiday is celebrated by Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and Christians in many countries in Latin America and Europe, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, France and Italy according to Carranza.
Typical Día de los Reyes Magos celebrations resemble some Christmas traditions as children leave snacks for the Three Wise Men and hay for their camels, putting down their shoes to be filled with gifts to be discovered the next morning. Other traditions include an exchange of gifts between family and friends.
Relatives often get together to celebrate the holiday with a festive dinner, breaking bread with rosca de reyes, or “bread of kings”.
Rosca is a sweet, ring-shaped bread adorned with colorful candied cherries, red and green dried fruits, and a sweet filling commonly found on conchas, a Mexican sweet bread. Inside the bread, a small plastic doll symbolizes the baby Jesus. As the bread is sliced and distributed, the person receiving the piece containing the figurine must prepare a dinner or host for the next celebration.
“It reminds us of the greatest gift we receive in life and when we have that gift we can share it,” Carranza said.