The Day of the Kings
In Mexico, as in all of Latin America, holidays differ from our North American neighbors. Mexican children do not receive Christmas presents on December 25th; they wait until January 6th, “el Día de Reyes,” the Day of the Kings (or the Day of the Wise Men). The Magi who brought presents to the Baby Jesus, so on the day that they are honored, they bring toys to boys and girls who have been good. It’s simple: Children place their shoes by the window, and the Magi place presents in the shoes. If a present is bigger than the shoe, it’s placed next to it. (Many children get a new pair of shoes!)
El Día de Reyes is celebrated with a Merienda, an evening meal that takes place anytime between 5 and 7pm—not a heavy meal, more like High Tea. Hot chocolate and a special holiday bread called Rosca de Reyes is served to the family. The Rosca de Reyes is a large oval wreath made of egg bread (like an egg bagel, but huge) with dry fruit decorations and sprinkled sugar on top. Baked inside is a little ceramic doll representing the Baby Jesus. The person who gets the piece of bread with the Baby inside it will be the Godparent of the Baby Jesus in the celebration of the Candelaria on February 2nd.
El Día de la Candelaria is the day of the Candle or Light, also known as the Day of Purification. On that day, the Nativity scene is put away with a party given by the person who got the Baby Jesus in his or her piece of bread during the Rosca de Reyescelebration. He or she will be responsible for making a Ropon or christening gown for Baby Jesus. Generally, they have a dinner with tamales, corn bread filled with meats in a sauce, or raisins wrapped in corn husks).
Lately, these traditions have been modified. For example, the Posadas are now nine parties that are celebrated in different friends’ homes before Christmas. Also, with the North American Free Treaty Agreement, known as NAFTA, Christmas is now celebrated American style, with Santa Claus, holiday meals and presents, mostly among the affluent. Others take trips to ski resorts in the United States or Europe, or travel to tourist spots within Mexico.
All educational institutions are closed during the holidays; school begins again after January 6th. Also, government offices and the other institutions connected with the government close during those two weeks.
Hotel Posada de Roger is located on Basilio Badillo in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. We wish you and your loved ones happy holidays! We invite you to check out our nativity scene located in our lobby through the month of December until el Día de Reyes.