Opinion: Why so many families look forward to rosca de Reyes every year
Franco-Hoffmann is marketing director. She lives in Rancho Peñasquitos.
I remember the many gatherings my mother had at my parents’ house in Mexico, but one in particular that I cherish the most – the celebration of la rosca de Reyes. Growing up in a Catholic family, our family celebrated the arrival of the Reyes Magos (Three Kings) to see baby Jesus on the evening of January 6.
Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread that our family shared with our friends and family on this special evening that allowed us to come together to celebrate our tradition, our friendship and our culture. In addition to enjoying a delicious sweet bread, we always anticipated who would be the “lucky ones” to have the baby Jesus in their rosca, as Mexican bakeries usually add at least three plastic figurines of the baby Jesus baked in the pot. bread. At our gatherings, those who get one of the babies would be required to throw a party (first baby found), pay for food (second baby), or pay for all drinks (third baby). Our family organized this every year with the idea of planning the Fiesta de la Candelaria on February 2nd. The idea was to divide the responsibilities of organizing an event among our family, friends and neighbors.
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As a child, I always wondered why this event was so long awaited and so popular. We all ran the risk of having to pay for food or drink or having to throw the party which would cost a lot of money. Our meetings were always filled with most of our neighbors and our family. It was great fun seeing who would get the babies and while some were scared everyone would have a piece of the rosca to enjoy. We ate the bread with hot chocolate made with chocolate from the Mexican brand Abuelita. These Mexican chocolate bars are made with strong flavors of cocoa and cinnamon, and just thinking about it brings back tons of great memories and I can almost taste the caliente chocolate!
As a parent, I would like to pass on my cultural traditions to my children. I believe it will provide them with sweet and lasting memories of their childhood and their Mexican heritage and hopefully someday they will do the same with their own children. So I hosted la rosca de Reyes in my home and office to share this tradition with friends, neighbors and colleagues. My neighborhood is quite diverse, something that I love. We have neighbors from different parts of the world – Poland, India, the Philippines, China and the Middle East – and I love to share my traditions with them and get to know theirs. They visited my house to celebrate rosca de Reyes, and they shared how they enjoyed the sweet bread and hot chocolate and learned something about Mexico, my family and our traditions.
Fortunately, my husband also enjoys learning more about my family traditions, our culture and our heritage and very much enjoys my teaching our children about Mexican traditions. He thinks our children will fare better in life if they understand their customs and are curious about other cultures. He believes understanding and appreciating your own culture as a child supports understanding the value of diversity in life and the work environment. One day our children will need to interact with colleagues from other cultural backgrounds, perhaps in other languages, and we hope to prepare them for this incredible opportunity. My husband’s heritage includes Polish, British and German roots. He enjoys learning about other cultures and working with people from all over the world. Some of his colleagues are from China and India, and he cherishes their contributions and their friendship.
The sweetest part of this is that I am now invited to different cultural celebrations hosted by my friends and neighbors. I recently attended my first celebration for Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights. The festival originates in India and lasts for five days, taking place at the end of the last month of the Hindu lunar calendar. I loved learning about the celebration, eating delicious food, seeing my friend in her beautiful cultural outfit, and spending time with my neighbors, family and friends.