The Origin of La Rosca

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There are many Mexican traditions and La Rosca is one of the most delicious there is. It’s a tradition to eat a Rosca every January 6th to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men to worship baby Jesus.

Its origin is European and it was created due to Catholic beliefs. The story of the Three Wise Men tells the journey of three kings of different cultures leaving from Persia to Bethlehem to venerate the new born prophet.  Upon their arrival, they greeted Mary and Joseph and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The Catholic countries have the custom of giving presents to children to commemorate this action towards Jesus. Every 6th of January, catholic kids find toys and clothing under their tree or in their shoe. It’s a magical event which starts with a letter of the toys the kid wants and is sent to the skies tied to a  helium balloon.

“La rosca de reyes” or king’s ring is a pastry that is normally eaten on this same day of January. The bread or cake is a symbol of the infinite love of God without beginning nor end. It also simulates a king’s crown. It’s garnished with dried fruit, figs, cherries, quinces and other traditional candies. Inside of the bread there is a tiny baby Jesus, hidden.

The tradition of the hidden figure was born in France thanks to a pagan custom of choosing a king for the holidays. Inside of a ring of bread they used to hide a broad bean to choose it.  In the Catholic tradition it represents when Mary and Joseph were trying to keep their baby safe from King Herodes’ persecution who tried to kill any newborn child who could turn into the king of Jews.

In Mexico, it’s tradition to slice the bread and whoever finds the little figure inside, has the “obligation” of becoming the godfather of the little plastic child. This honor comes with the responsibility of inviting the people present that day to eat tamales and atole on February 2 in the Candlemas Day.

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