The Symbolism of the Rosca de Reyes


On January 6th, many families celebrate Three Kings Day, my family in Mexico especially. Today I would like to share with you the symbolism of the Rosca de Reyes. Happy Día de Reyes!

Rosca de Reyes

Three Kings Day is a big deal for the kids, because it's the day the Kings bring them gifts, just as they brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Baby Jesus.

We also celebrate the day by cutting into our Rosca de Reyes (our recipe here), the delicious, wreath-shaped bread with hidden surprises inside that we dip into our favorite Mexican hot chocolate.

RELATED POST: Celebrating Three Kings Day

Here's a bit about the tradition of the rosca as my family celebrates it.

Reyes Magos by

The Bible tells us in Matthew that the Three Kings were summoned by King Herod and asked to let him know where they find the Baby Jesus, so he can pay homage, too.

After visiting Jesus, The Three Kings are warned in dreams to go back home by a different road, instead of returning to tell Herod where Jesus is.

Furious, Herod orders all children younger than two be killed in or near Bethlehem to eliminate this potential rival. The Holy Family escapes to Egypt.

Rosca de Reyes by

Symbolism of the Rosca de Reyes:

In my family's tradition…

  • The circular form of the rosca represents God's eternal love which has no beginning or end.
  • The sugar and fruit on top represent worldly distractions that keep us from finding Jesus.
  • The small doll inside the rosca represents the Baby Jesus who was visited by the Three Kings and hidden away from King Herod.

RELATED POST: Green Pozole with Chicken Recipe

Candlemas (Día de la Candelaria)

Ninitos Jesus vestidos para dia de la candelaria

In Mexico, as I've mentioned, roscas generally have small dolls inside that represent Baby Jesus, even though today you can find roscas that have other figurines inside like the Three Kings, Mary, Joseph, camels, sheep, etc.

Finding a suprise in the Rosca de Reyes

During the Three Kings Day celebration, we cut the rosca, and those who discover the small Baby Jesus doll inside become Padrinos (Godparents).

The Padrinos must dress the family's Baby Jesus doll (this one is a bit bigger, see photo above) in new clothes and present him at the church on February 2nd, also known as Candlemas.

Ropones de ninito Jesus para el dia de la candelaria

Later in the day, the Padrinos are responsible for throwing a party celebrating the day with a traditional menu of tamales and atole.

¡Feliz Día de los Reyes!

Silvia Martinez
Latest posts by Silvia Martinez (see all)

Sharing is caring!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

As Seen On