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Lisa & Tony Sierra

Celebrate Dia de Reyes with Roscon

By January 3, 2013

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Roscon de Reyes - Twelfth Night Bread

Roscon de Reyes is a traditional holiday bread, served the night before or morning of "Reyes" or Epiphany, January 6th. Dia de Reyes or simply called Reyes is the day when children in Spain receive their gifts from the Reyes Magos - Three Kings, Wise Men or Magi. This is a reference to the three kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Traditionally in Spain, instead of receiving gifts from Santa Claus or Papa Noel, children receive them from the Reyes Magos.

It is customary to put several surprises inside the roscon. Before the baker places the roscon in the oven, she wraps a porcelain figure of a baby in aluminum foil and hides it and a haba or dry bean in the dough. Whoever finds the baby in their piece of roscon will have good luck and be the king of the party, while whoever finds the haba must pay for the roscon. There is a saying in Spanish that tells the custom: "Si es el haba lo encontrado, el Roscon pagarás; mas si ello es la figura, coronado y Rey serás..."

This custom is not limited to Spain, and is kept all over Latin America. About's Guide to Mexican Food offers another version of the bread called Rosca de Reyes- Three Kings Bread, and About's Guide to Latin Caribbean Food has another version of Rosca.

About's Guide to Catholicism explains Giving Gifts and the Twelve Days of Christmas, and Epiphany.

Photo Lisa Sierra, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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