Rosca de Reyes Lends Sweet Celebration


Rosca de Reyes Lends Sweet Celebration

An employee at Ayala's Bakery in Brownsville shows a Rosca de Reyes panaderias.
An employee at Ayala’s Bakery in Brownsville shows a Rosca de Reyes panaderias.

While the holiday season is over for most people, another traditional celebration took place among some Rio Grande Valley residents.

Such was the case for those who celebrated Three Kings Day with the traditional Rosca de Reyes, a round-shaped pastry consumed by people who follow the customs each Jan. 6. Bakeries throughout the region prepared the item by the hundreds, decorating the rings with dried fruit, cherries and other ingredients.

Spanish-speaking people, more so south of the border, generally consume the pastry.

Jan. 6 is as Dia de Los Reyes (Three Wise Men Day) or Dia de la Epifania. It’s a day in which many families give toys to their children after Christmas. The Three Wise Men are Gaspar, Balthasar and Melchior. The three visited and brought gifts to baby Jesus during Biblical times, according to some religious accounts.

Local Rosca de Reyes offerings

In Brownsville, Ayala’s Bakery on Military Highway began selling roscas years ago. Some customers, such as Hector Sanchez, have been buying them for quite some time. Godoy’s and Abby’s bakeries in Los Fresnos sold dozens of Rosca de Reyes. Sabino Godoy said that was the first time they offered the pastry as the bakery just opened the panaderia this past October. He said they made dozens of roscas that come in small, medium and large sizes.

A Rosca de Reyes on display at Ayala's.
A Rosca de Reyes on display at Ayala’s.

A traditional rosca contains one or more baby Jesus figures. Whenever a person happens to get a slice of bread and finds the plastic figure inside it, he or she is supposed to throw a gathering. They also have the honor of providing tamales for sharing among them on Feb. 2, known as Dia de la Candelaria or Candlemas.

A rosca becomes the center stage on the tables of many families and on the break room of some businesses to celebrate the occasion and to find out who will throw the next party.