Christmas in Mexico
On the twelfth day of Christmas, January 6, many across the world, including Mexico, celebrate Three Kings Day! Celebrated most in Europe, Spain, and Latin America, ‘El Dia de los Reyes’, as it’s called in Spanish, marks the glorification of baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men. Many expats in Mexico continue to wonder why the fireworks continue. This is why!
Mexican children receive gifts from the three wise kings (Reyes Magos) on January 6. Streets in major cities are packed with food stalls, gifts, and outdoor parties. It is also customary to eat Rosca de Reyes, which is a wreath-shaped fruity bread baked with a figure of baby Jesus inside. There is special honor to the person who finds the figure of the baby Jesus in their bread.
Similarly, In my family’s Greek tradition, we make Christopsomo, or Christ’s bread on New Year’s Day. We place a coin in the bread, and cut the pieces in order as following: Jesus, our home, and each family member in order of oldest to youngest. Whoever gets the coin has amazing luck for the new year.
In Mexico, even though this is not a public holiday, there are festivals celebrating the Epiphany in many places.
Christians believe that three kings (or wise men) – Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar – visited the child Jesus and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This Epiphany story is celebrated in churches across Mexico and around the world. In my home country of Cyprus, this is considered a high holy day in the Orthodox faith. We celebrate by making a desert called Loukoumades.