Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Remember Whensday: El Día de los Reyes

The Three Kings, Guadalajara, Mexico 1990

We took our children to visit family in Mexico at the end of 1989. It was their first trip outside Canada (and my husband's first visit to Mexico) and we stayed into the first week of January. El Día de los Reyes, The Day of the Kings, or Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th. It marks the visit of the Magi and their presentation of gifts to the young child Jesus. In Latin America it is a day for gift giving and the eating of a special cake. Rosca de Reyes or Three Kings Cake is a crown shaped sweet bread which reminds me of German stollen. A small porcelein figurine of the Christ Child is baked in the bread and the person who finds it in their piece must host the next family gathering.

Nacimiento (Nativity) Gualadajara, Mexico 1990

Large nativity scenes were set up in various places in the city of Guadalajara where we were staying with my parents. I have a similar looking nacimiento which fits on the top of my piano.

Grandad and granddaughters in a Mexican village

Our daughters were introduced to third world living conditions on this trip and they adapted well to the travelling and sights we saw. Along with the modern city of Guadalajara, we visited villages and homes where my parents and brothers ministered to the people. I do remember how cold it was at higher altitudes and wished I had brought warmer clothing and a tea pot with me, especially at night.

Pacific Ocean, Mexico (I cannot remember the name of the town)

We visited the Pacific Ocean and finally found warmth at sea level. Hundreds of Brown Pelicans circled the beach when the fishermen came to shore in their small boats and sorted the fish caught in their nets.

Twenty years has passed by quickly. I can hardly believe these pictures were taken than long ago! Mexico has changed too and many in the younger generations are in tune with North American culture and its consumerism. I think it would be more unlikely to come across a burro carrying a large load of sugar cane. But today is still a special day, the end of the Christmas season and a day of celebration.

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  1. I'm sure it was a great experience for all.

  2. Mexico Mom11:40 pm GMT-5

    Steph bought a Rosca de los Reyes today and Hugo arrived with a gift for each of us.
    The big difference is not in the villages or the people although there are changes. The fish are disappearing we saw only 8 or 10 brown pelicans during a week at the Pacific beach in December 2009.

  3. Ruth,

    The photos are beautiful. Such sweet memories. I have never been to Mexico but enjoyed learning about their customs and seeing the photos.

    Have a great day.

  4. What a great experience for your children. Mexico definately celebrates, or once did, Christmas in a grand way. Thanks for sharing this special memory, and provoking a few of my own.

  5. Anonymous8:36 pm GMT-5

    For once I didn't get the stupid doll in the cake (the doll is made of plastic, and there are several) so I don't have to make the tamales (the traditional food required, although the person who got 2 of 3 dolls doesn't cook, so I might end up with all the work after all...)

  6. What an interesting tradition. I have never been to Mexico. I would prefer to visit the villages and towns then do the all inclusive resorts that are so popular. I want to learn about the country/cultures. What a special trip and memory for your entire family.

    I think I would be very honoured to get the doll in my piece of cake. But then I like to cook for lots of people.


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