In Mexico, a tradition that is deeply rooted in people’s customs is the sharing of the delicious Kings Ring Cake or “Rosca de Reyes” every January 6. Usually, it is accompanied by hot chocolate and the enthusiasm of the youngsters in the family, who have secretly received gifts during the night, and they cannot wait to begin unwrapping.
We all like to enjoy this special occasion of the year, sharing with the younger ones the expectation of who is going to get the hidden figure inside the cake, but few know the origin and meaning of this custom.
It turns out that this oval-shaped type of bread, made with figs and seasonal dates, has been consumed for centuries. Its origin dates back to Pantheistic Rome, where it was prepared in honor of the god Saturn, as a symbol of gratitude for the harvest. The Christians recovered and preserved the tradition, which was initially considered pagan, and it was they who first incorporated the element of hiding a bean in the bread.
In the fourteenth century, France established the official date to share the Ring Cake on January 6th. It was titled “Epiphany”, which for Western Christians commemorates the visit of the Three Holy Kings to the baby Jesus, while the Orthodox celebrate his baptism on this day.
In Mexico, as usual, the tradition took an original and fun way. In addition to elaborating tasty King’s cakes, adorned with figs, tie and citron, the custom says that if you find the hidden figure of the baby Jesus while slicing the cake, you will be responsible for preparing “tamales” and “atole” to celebrate with everyone present the Candelaria Day, on February 2nd.
The form and the elements that compose the Holy Kings Ring cake have several inherent meanings: The oval form, for example, refers to the infinite faith; the colorful fruits that adorn it, are a representation of the jewels that the Holy Kings brought to the newborn; and hiding a figure of him inside the bread refers to the persecution that Joseph and Mary had to suffer to save their son from King Herod.
Now that you know its history and meaning, share a delicious “Rosca de Reyes” this January 6th in Trazo 1810. Check out our Instagram account! If you want to know how San Miguel celebrates the seasonal festivities, we invite you to continue reading on the blog of Casa 1810 Hotel Boutique our article Christmas in San Miguel de Allende.
Happy Holy King’s day!
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