The three kings day in Mexico is a religious celebration, which symbolizes the arrival of the wise men; Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar to the place where the baby Jesus was born.
The tradition of sharing this sweet bread was originated in France by in the middle ages. In order to Christianize the tradition, a bean was introduced, symbolizing the escape of Joseph and Mary to hide the baby Jesus, and to keep him safe from the persecution of King Herod. The candies or crystallized fruits make the function of the distractions in the world that prevent to find Jesus.
Although it is a tradition of European origin, January 6 (three kings day) is celebrated in various ways in the Mexican Republic.
Mexican families complete their Nativity figures by adding the figures of Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar around the baby Jesus. Unlike Christmas Day, there are fewer families who give toys to their children on this day. There are some families that rescue the tradition of writing letters to the wise men and giving candy charcoal to children who will not receive toys.
Where more celebrations of January 6 are organized in Mexico is in churches and schools. In the churches it is taught that the three wise men traveled for 2 weeks (from December 25) to bring gifts to the baby Jesus; guiding with the star of Bethlehem. In schools, on the other hand, festivals are organized for children, where there is typical Mexican food, games, gifts and the traditional thread of kings.
The sweet bread is the most representative part of three kings day in Mexico; It is covered in sugar and quince, and has an oval shape with a hole in the middle. The oval shape of the thread represents the infinite circle of love for God, without beginning nor end.
The emotion of living three kings day is to share the thread in family or among friends, since this traditional dessert comes with a surprise … Inside the bread there are small plastic dolls that represent the baby Jesus; and in Mexico, if you get a plastic doll in the piece you are about to eat, you will have to invite tamalesfor everyone the following February 2 (Candelaria Day).
Many companies also offer their workers a coexistence where the kings’ thread is split to see who is the figure of the child of Jesus.
So, for many Mexicans, thethree kings day marks the end of the Christmas season.