Dia de los Tres Reyes – Three Kings Day

Officially called “The Epiphany of the Lord,” this feast celebrates the epiphany (manifestation) of Christ to the Gentiles, symbolized by Christ’s manifestation to the Magi (Wise Men). The feast originally was more closely connected to Jesus’ baptism, the primary theme of the feast in Eastern Churches to this day. –

Many countries celebrate three wise men day as an official day to end the Christmas season celebration. In these countries Christmas is celebrated for 12 days and January 6 is marked as three wise men day to end the celebration of Christmas. It is also called as epiphany or sometimes called Twelfth Night. Countries which are more under catholic influence used to celebrate three wise men day in traditional way than today’s modern celebration. It is more popular in Spain and in Spanish this day is called as “Dia de los three Reyes Magos” which mean three kings day.

How three wise men day started ? It all started when three wise men – Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar started their quest to find baby Jesus in Jerusalem. These three wise men were guided by Star of Bethlehem and gifted baby Jesus with myrrh, gold and other tools that helped him to lead others and to inspire. These three wise men were known to be noble kings, priests or astrologers in search of truth. In some part of the world they are know with name ‘magi’ the wise men of the east. Modern celebration of three wise men is mostly about gifts to kids. Other than kids, people also give gifts to each other and to orphans who have no parents. Gifting is in order to remember three wise men who traveled all the way to Jerusalem to gift baby Jesus. Like Santa Claus tradition, some families also ask kids to write letter to three wise men in order to get gifts. Though gifting is considered as commercial touch to tradition but nonetheless it keep people attracted towards the tradition.

Rosca de reyes (kings’ ring) is a Spanish and Spanish American king’s cake pastry traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany. The Rosca de Reyes is a ring-shaped bread with a small doll baked inside which represents the baby Jesus. The figure symbolizes the hiding of the infant from King Herod’s troops. According to tradition whoever finds the figure in their slice of sweet bread must give a party on February 2nd, Candlemas Day or Dia de la Candelaria, offering tamales and atole (a hot, sweet drink thickened with corn flour)or Mexican hot chocolate to their guests. Candlemas is the day that Mary presented the infant Jesus to the temple and is traditionally the day that candles are blessed in the Catholic Church.

Rosca de Reyes – Three Kings Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
1 packet yeast
3/4 cups of sugar
7 eggs
125 grams butter
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
Dash of salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp aniseed
100 grams raisins
1 tsp vanilla
50 grams candied figs
50 grams candied orange
50 grams candied lemon
50 grams candied cherries
50 grams candied citron
1 beaten egg

Dissolve the yeast in five tablespoons lukewarm milk.  Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk, salt, cinnamon, aniseed, raisins, and vanilla.  Knead into a ball; grease it with some butter and place near a warm stove until the dough doubles in size. (About 2 1/2 hours).

Knead, banging it down on the floured tabletop, to make it soft and pliable.  Form the dough into a ring or rosca.  Insert the baby figurine.  Place the rosca on a greased backing tray.  Decorate with candied fruit. Leave the rosca once more to fluff up again. Brush the rosca with the beaten egg and sprinkle over granulated sugar.  Bake for 40 minutes at 360° F ( 180°C) in preheated oven.

Feliz Dia de Los Reyes Magos!

About zoom50

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease”
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6 Responses to Dia de los Tres Reyes – Three Kings Day

  1. kimkiminy says:

    I used to work at an architecture firm. One year, a subcontractor in New Orleans sent us a King Cake. We all cut it up and enjoyed it, and guess who was the one to find the little plastic baby doll hidden inside her piece? Yup, it was me! I think I still have that doll somewhere…

    • zoom50 says:

      OMG! The lucky person who finds the baby Jesus in their slice becomes the host for a dinner party for Candelaria (Candlemas) in February 2nd-exactly 40 days after Christmas! Bet you didn’t know that. 🙂 hahaha just kidding. I had never find a baby Jesus in my slice of rosca de reyes =( I am very dissapointed. I love the Mexican tradition of hiding prizes in cakes.
      I’m so glad you found baby Jesus.

  2. akamonsoon says:

    That looks delicious. I’ve seen these for sale in the Spanish grocery stores here. In Phoenix there is a big parade to celebrate. One year a friend of ours was picked as one of the Wise Men. He road through town on a camel.

    I think the song The 12 Days of Christmas is also based on the Feast of the Epiphany if I’m not mistaken. Years ago I had attended a Latin Mass and chalk was blessed on this day. Then you would write C+M+B=2011 (or whatever year it was) to symbolize the Three Kings.

  3. zoom50 says:

    I love the Rosca de reyes. I make a King cake last year, and completely forgot to make it this year. I was so busy making ginger man cookies, cupcakes and banana bread for my grandchildren.

    Yes, the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has everything to do with the Christian tradition of Epiphany. The traditional mass is a beautiful thing, where the priest leads the faithful and everyone faces the tabernacle where Our Lord is. It is a wonderful experience.

  4. Aussie Emjay says:

    This sounds wonderful – and looks divine. I’ve never tried King Cake – I will be on the look out for it now.

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