January 6th is known as Dia de Reyes which translates literally “Kings’Day”. This commemorates the arrival of the three Magi or Wisemen that are purported to have brought gifts to the baby Jesus. It is on this day that many Spanish children traditionally receive presents, which are attributed to the 3 Wisemen (rather than Santa Claus). In some countries, like here in Mexico, children may leave their shoes outside filled with hay or dried grass for the animals the Wise Men ride.
When I was little (Everette had the same experience) my mother would wrap dimes in plastic wrap and shove them into my birthday cake for my friends and I to discover. Meant you weren’t to shovel that cake down but to savor it or you might discover you swallowed the prizes.
In the pic below, Gus (the landowner, in his 70’s) is telling us in broken English what the cake is all about.
There is a very old tradition of placing a figurine of the Christ-child in the cake. There are several figurines inserted, supposedly to remind us of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus fleeing from King Herod and the massacre he initiated of all male babies (in his attempt to wipe out any possibility of a ‘king’ to succeed him). Each person cuts a slice for themselves, and whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine (there are multiple figurines per cake/bread) is blessed and is supposed to take the figurine to the nearest church on February 2 (Día de la Candelaria).
Here in Mexico we were told that each person who discovers the figurine in their slice has the responsibility of hosting a dinner (in our case, contributing funds to pay) of tamales and atole. The date of our next Party….Feb 2.
With about 25 of us there, and 7 of them from our family, I suspected the odds were certainly against us. The outcome?
Only Anders needs to find a way to raise funds! Less than a month to accomplish.