The following is a guest post by Silvia and is part of the Your Bicultural Holiday Traditions series.
In a perfect world we would spend every year in Mexico during the Christmas Season. I have wonderful memories of getting together each year at my abuelita’s house, of playing with my cousins, enjoying the posadas, drinking the ponche, smacking the piñatas, praying, rocking baby Jesus, hugging everybody, eating after midnight, and coming back the next day for leftovers.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to keep this Christmas tradition here in the States, because each year we have been in different places. But traditions are very important to me and Reyes Magos is one we have been able to keep in our home.
The Feast of Los Reyes Magos, for me, captures the true meaning of giving and receiving at Christmastime. It’s a day of comfort, joy, family, and prayer, but also of excitement while waiting for the gifts Los Reyes bring to Baby Jesus and to our children.
I love that in my bilingual and bicultural family we get to share celebrations: My kids have both Santa Claus, to whom they write in English, and Los 3 Reyes Magos, to whom they write in Spanish.
Every January 5th, I go to the Mexican market and buy the biggest “Rosca de Reyes” I can find and gather my family and as many of my dearest friends as possible.
When our guests arrive, and before we eat a dinner of tamales with refried beans and drink horchata, my husband reads the story of the Three Wise Men from the Bible. Then we leave the kids to run and play for a little bit, while the adults enjoy some conversation.
Finally we gather round the table and cut the Rosca de Reyes. It is very exciting to see the kids looking for the baby Jesus hidden inside their piece!! We always have Mexican-style hot chocolate in which to dip our bread, yum!
At the end of the day, my kids take their shoes and put them under the Christmas Tree along with their wish lists. They follow mamá and papá dutifully to their normal bedtime routine which always goes smoothly because they know they need to be asleep in order to allow the Reyes Magos to come to our home.
The next morning the boys will get up and run to the living room to see what has been left next to their shoes! There is nothing sweeter than the smiles on those faces. I can’t wait!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Silvia is the creator of Mama Latina Tips a bilingual blog for Latina moms. In Mama Latina Tips you will find topics of interest to all moms, as on anything that appeals to a multi-faceted Latina women. You can also find Silvia and her tips on Twitter.
Your Bicultural Holiday Traditions continues tomorrow with a story from Marcela Hede, Hispanic Culture Online, about how she introduces her Colombian traditions in a fun way for her son. Make sure you’re subscribed to our feed either by RSS or email so you don’t miss a beat.
Wonderful article, Silvia! I love how your boys write to Santa in English and Los Reyes in Spanish. (I think that I will borrow that idea next year.) What a gift you are giving your children by teaching them about both of their parents’ cultures. ¡Feliz Navidad!
.-= Adriana´s last blog ..Plate Making Kits =-.
Feliz Navidad ! Me parece Super que tienes este blog.Yo tengo una nina bilingue tambien y mi blog es bilingue,tambien menciono las tradiciones latinas. Les invito a compartir en http://www.latinaconestiloelocuente.blogspot.com y celebremos juntos!
One of the things I didn’t know before I learned a lot about Mexican traditions was the Reyes tradition. I love that Rosca too and it’s so fun to find the little babies!
It is cute that the kids write in Spanish to the Reyes and English to Santa, I think I will do the same here, great idea!!
.-= Dariela´s last blog ..Giveaway Winner! =-.
Silvia, this article was very sweet, (and made me want both horchata and Mexican hot chocolate!) … I had not heard of the “Rosca de Reyes” and I’m eager to give it a go this year. (Reminds me very much of the Mardi Gras “King Cake” tradition in New Orleans. I bet their origins are closely related.)
Thanks for giving me another tradition, (and for extending our holiday season out a few days further!)
.-= Sra. López´s last blog ..A Spanglish Night Before Christmas =-.
Thanks so much for your comments, I was very happy to have the opportunity to share our Dia de Reyes tradition we love so much, and I’m pleased you are considering incorporating some or all into your own holiday celebrations. Thank you Ana and Roxana for allowing me to share.
Feliz Navidad Everyone!
.-= Silvia´s last blog ..Herramientas para la Seguridad de los Niños en los Autos / Child Car Safety Tools =-.
Thank you Silvia for sharing your family´s traditions with us. I never grew up with Los Reyes Magos, but I´ve grown to love the Rosca de Reyes ever since I lived in Mexico. I´m lucky that there´s tons of panaderias in Los Angeles that sell them. Can´t wait!
Thank you for posting this. I am really excited to celebrate this day with my children now that they’re a little older (2.5 and 4) and keeping this tradition alive. I really enjoyed it growing up and I don’t want to lose it. I was saddened when talking to my brother Danny about El Dia de los Santos Reyes and he said that he was forgetting our traditions. It’s especially sad since he, my sister Miriam, and I were born in Mexico!
You have to check out this post about Los Reyes Magos y Santa Claus:
“CAMPAÑA EN APOYO A NUESTROS QUERIDOS REYES MAGOS, MARGINADOS Y OLVIDADOS GRACIAS A UN INVASOR GORDO Y SEBOSO PRODUCTO DEL CONSUMISMO COMPULSIVO.”
LOL! That was too funny. I especially like the part about how the Reyes Magos are much more fashionable than Santa Claus.
We also celebrate Dia de Los Reyes Magos. In fact, all our neighbors think we are weird because we don’t take any of our decorations down until after the 6th. Funny Latinos I tell ya. Hahaha!
.-= Lisa Renata´s last blog ..wishing you… =-.
It was the tradition to leave the decorations up until January 7 in the USA, too, but people have gotten away from it and many don’t even know it.
Thank you for posting this!It sure brings back good childhood memories! I am excited to share this wonderful tradition with my kids…they are finally old enough to understand it and appreciate it. I am also going to introduce it to my homeschooling co-op group. See, I teach the group Spanish, and they have been really fascinated with ALL our Christmas traditions. Yes, we do have many of them, and they are wonderful! I too am concentrating on keeping our Mexican traditions alive in our family, they are an important part of who we are. Our neighbors also think we are weird for leaving our Christmas tree and lights up until January 6!! LOL! Now, when we cut the “Rosca de Reyes” we always said that whoever finds the “Nino Jesus” would be the one to host next year’s party…is that something our family just made up? I think it’s a fun way to look forward to the new year!! Again, thanks for sharing your wonderful memories
Thank you for this! I love finding out more about the traditions I’m trying to revive for our kids!
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