I love El Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Day) because it is the last tamalada, the word we use for big parties that consist of making tamales, of the year. This has been a tradition in my family as far back as I remember.
Growing up, my family celebrated el Día de los Reyes Magos by gathering at the house of one of the tías. As we got older, my sister and I hosted the Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings’ Bread) celebration. On this day, we buy a huge loaf of bread, in the shape of an oval covered with fruit and sugar. This bread has 3-5 monitos (little dolls) on the inside.
The Rosca is the representation of La Corona (the crown) of the Reyes Magos (wise men) that went looking for Jesus. The fruit on the Rosca symbolizes the jewels on the King’s crown and of course, the monitos are the representation of Jesus in the womb or hidden in the manger the night of his birth. We gather around 3:00-5:00 PM and have traditional Mexican drinks like champurrado, atolé, cafe de olla con chocolate; all of which bring up memories of being a little girl in Mexico, going to my mom’s family’s house to cut her piece and getting a little monito. I loved getting champurrado!
After we feast on tamales and dinner, we get ready to cut the Rosca. Now comes the fun part! The family gathers around the table and the host/hostess brings the Rosca out. Now, the rules are simple: If you get a baby Jesus, you have to be part of the next tamalada and you MUST bring something to the party. One of my favorite memories is when I hosted and my daughter wanted to cut the Rosca. Typically, the kids are not allowed to cut it since they cannot contribute to the party, but we allow them on the parents’ behalf. I allowed my daughter to cut and she got a little monito!
Traditionally, the Rosca is cut on the 6th of January, because that is el Dia de los Reyes Magos. However, the next tamalada is held on the 2nd of February which is el Dia de la Candelaria. To share my culture and celebrate with my team, I’ve brought Rosca to work in the past. Celebrating culture at work is important because we have so much in common and being able to share this tradition with other Team Members brings us a sense of belonging in the workplace. Culture is the root of everything we do.