FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Mexican families across the country are walking into bakeries today asking for the Rosca de Reyes, a traditional bread that celebrates Three Kings Day.
Three Kings Day is a religious holiday that marks the adoration of Jesus at birth by the three kings.
Local bakery Panadería Vista Hermosa has been preparing for Monday for the past two weeks.
“The biggest thrill is cutting into the bread,” said Alex Cervantes, son of the owner of Panadería Vista Hermosa.
They come in different sizes, and inside each of them are three figurines.
“It represents the three wise men, and at the same time, it’s the baby Jesus at birth,” Marco Antonio Pérez, the baker of Panadería Vista Hermosa, said.
He said he got in at 5 a.m. and in between Sunday and Monday, they had made 300 roscas.
Once someone has picked up their rosca, they take it home to share it with their loved ones, but there’s a catch.
“If you eat the rosca and you share it and you get the figurine in it, on Feb. 2, the day of the Candelaria, you have to make the tamales,” Pérez said.
The Candelaria is the day of the feast on Feb 2.
After the dough is made and shaped into a rosca, or a wreath, one integral ingredient that goes on top is the dry fruit.
“The Rosca de Reyes has dry fruit, on the top part, it’s fundamental and can’t be left out from the rosca. Afterwards, you put extra things to compliment it and give it a little more color,” Pérez said.
In Mexico, Jan. 6 is an extra special day for children.
“In Mexico, that’s when we celebrate kind of Christmas, that’s when they do the gift exchange on the 6th,” Cervantes said.
Around 12 p.m., there already was a line at Panadería Vista Hermosa, but Pérez said they’re preparing for when everyone gets off of work.
For Pérez, this is a tradition that’s been passed on for generations. He said his father, grandfather and great grandfather are and were bakers.
“It’s like an inheritance that they leave you and we follow it, my siblings all followed the same tradition,” Pérez said.