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Dia de los Reyes

How Dia de los Reyes traditions vary between countries…and best Rosca recipe!

Dia de los Reyes, or Three Kings Day, is a Latino and Hispanic holiday that takes place on January 6th, also known as the Epiphany. 

The history behind the day honors the Three Wise Men and the biblical story of how they traveled for twelve days to give gifts to baby Jesus. The three Kings, named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar followed a star across the desert to deliver symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

For many, the holiday is known as a “second Christmas” and traditionally it is the day when Hispanic households exchange gifts, concluding the Christmas holiday festivities. 

Originally, Christmas was celebrated for more than just one day, with the holiday spanning twelve days following December 25th and concluding on January 6th. You may be familiar with the holiday song The Twelve Days of Christmas. This song describes those twelve days, when many would traditionally give gifts throughout the long holiday, concluding with the Epiphany where the most gifts were given. 

For Latino and Hispanic households, the Epiphany is celebrated with just as much spirit as others celebrate Christmas on December 25th. While the tradition originated in Spain, many Latin American countries have adapted those traditions with their own twists and cultural inspiration. 

Dia de los Reyes traditions by country 

Depending on where you’re from, Dia de los Reyes traditions may vary, but one aspect that remains the same is gift-giving. Similar to Christmas traditions, children anticipate the arrival of the Three Kings like others anticipate Santa Claus and in the morning children wake to find gifts. 

In countries such as Puerto Rico, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, the celebration starts on January 5th with Víspera de Reyes, or Three Kings Eve, where children collect grass or hay in a box, as a gift for the camels. Instead of leaving out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for reindeer, Hispanic and Latino children leave out their old shoes along with their gift to the camels. 

In the morning, children wake to find their shoes filled with candies and other small gifts along with bigger gifts as well. Family members then gather to exchange gifts with each other and celebrate. Countries like Colombia use this family gathering to take down their Christmas tree and other decorations, as the holiday signals the end of the Christmas season. 

For countries such as Peru and Brazil, the day is celebrated with parades honoring the holiday in a mix of cultural traditions and religious ceremonies. 

And Mexico, a big part of Dia de los Reyes is the Rosca de Reyes. This round sweet-bread is decorated to resemble a king’s crown with the candied dried fruit. Part of the tradition includes a small baby Jesus figurine baked into the bread. Whoever finds the toy must then host a party for everyone on Día de la Candelaria or the Day of the Candles on February 2. 

Interested in making a rosca yourself? Check out this recipe by Latina chef, Yvette Marquez, where she adds her own twist on the traditional dish. 

You might be interested: Try these healthy holiday food recipes by Latina chefs 

We want to know: how do you and your family celebrate Dia de los Reyes? Share your story with us in the comments below or on social media!

Try these healthy holiday food recipes by Latina chefs 

Happy holidays! This time of year is all about family, celebrations, and food. Food is central to our Latina celebrations and it’s easy to get carried away with the oh-so-delicious holiday dishes. If you’re looking to have a bit of a healthier holiday, check out these healthy holiday food recipes below from Latina chefs. 

Ensalada de Noche Buena

Ericka Sanchez of @nibblesnfeasts on Instagram shares her Ensalada de Noche Buena or Christmas Eve Salad recipe on her site. This salad is a traditional staple for Mexican families during the holidays. 

In her post, Ericka describes the origins of the salad, which is named after the Poinsettia (Noche Buena), and also means Christmas Eve in Spanish. “It resembles the beauty and colorful plant that we are so fond of every holiday season. Arranged in a circle, similar to a flower and accented by bright crimson pomegranate arils, like jewels on a wreath, this delicious salad is sweet, savory and crunchy for all to enjoy,” says Ericka. 

 

 

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Mexican Shrimp Cocktail 

Yvette from @muybuenocooking on Instagram is a proud Latina who is developing and sharing traditional Mexican, Latin-Inspired healthy recipes. Her Mexican style shrimp cocktail is a personal holiday favorite and will be sure to shake up your own holiday meal. See the full recipe here.

 

Vegan Sweet Potato Pie 

Who said being healthy means skipping dessert? With this Vegan Sweet Potato Pie by @dorastable, you won’t have to say no to the sweet treats. Rich and creamy and full of seasonal spices, this pie is the perfect addition to any holiday meal. The full recipe for this delicious healthy holiday food recipe can be found on Dora’s site here

 

 

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You might be interested: 5 Latina inspired Thanksgiving recipes to try this year

Buñuelos de Viento

Another healthy holiday sweet treat recipe from @dorastable are these crispy snowflake-shaped fritters covered in cinnamon sugar. Buñuelos de Viento are a traditional Mexican holiday treat with Spanish and Arab origins. Dora writes in her blog post about the recipe, “In Mexico, buñuelos were adapted to the flat tortilla shape (buñuelos de rodilla) or the snowflake shape (buñuelos de viento) made with a rosette mold.” 

These treats are easy to make and great for large holiday gatherings. See the full recipe here

 

 

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