What is Rosca de Reyes and why is it eaten on Jan. 6?

Find out what it means to get the baby in your slice

SAN ANTONIO – It’s that cake with all the raisins, colored stripes and the baby inside that you see around San Antonio in early January. But what is it and why do we eat it?

Día de Reyes

Rosca de Reyes is eaten on Día de Reyes, or the Epiphany, each year. It’s a tradition that came over from Spain to Mexico and eventually the southern states. It marks the day when, according to the Christian faith, the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem arrived with gifts for baby Jesus. That date falls on Jan. 6, exactly 12 days after Christmas.

In central Mexico and the southern states, children wait until Día de Reyes to open many of their gifts because in Mexico and other countries, the Reyes Magos are the ones who deliver the toys, not Santa Claus.

So what exactly is Rosca de Reyes?

Much of Latin America also celebrates by eating the popular “Three Kings Bread,” or Rosca de Reyes. (Bonus: it’s served with Mexican hot chocolate!)

The bejeweled-looking bread is meant to symbolize the gifts given to baby Jesus, and inside the bread is a little plastic baby, symbolizing the newborn messiah. If you get the baby in your slice, you have to cook tamales for everyone on Feb. 2, or Candelaria Day.

Watch the video above to learn more from the folks at La Familia Cortez.

P.S. Jen got the baby in her slice. We’re waiting for our tamales, Jen!


- Recipe: Mexican hot chocolate

- Party appetizers with La Familia Cortez

- Comfort food, San Antonio-style

About the Authors

Diana Winters is a San Antonio-area native, Emmy award-winning and GLAAD-nominated journalist who loves the Alamo City. She is the executive producer of SA Live, creator of South Texas PRIDE and co-creator of Texas Eats.

Robert started his career at KSAT more than 10 years ago. He started as a prompter operator, to director, to promotions producer and now SA Live producer. He loved the excitement of news but entertainment is where he feels at home.

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