Celebrating Three Kings Day

Growing up, I only vaguely new about the holiday of the Epiphany/Día de los Reyes Magos/Three Kings Day. I had certainly never celebrated it. As an adult, the first time I really learned about how important the day was in Latin American and Spanish culture was during one of our trips to Puerto Rico. Still, I’ve never timed travel in these countries to coincide with January 6.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about the holiday, check out this article explaining the history, facts, and traditions of the Epiphany.

Since moving to Boston, I have been practicing Spanish with a conversation partner who’s morphed into a friend. She’s from Spain, so I ask her oodles of cultural questions that arise while watching Spanish movies and television shows. This means I asked her a lot about Three Kings Day, both the food and the traditions. Naturally, after these conversations, I was getting amped up to make the traditional cake. She and her husband were nice enough to put up with me in their kitchen for a few hours and have Jordan and I over to celebrate with some Spanish food.

Would you believe they even have an entire leg of jamón iberico in their apartment right now?! It was too exciting for me. I got to to a bit of the slicing myself, which was humbling. I now respect those people in Spanish restaurants or at Spanish weddings that are in charge of this duty a lot more.

A little manchego cheese and salchicón into the mix! We also had salad, quiche (okay, not so Spanish, but tasted great!), croquetas, and picos (those little, tiny, crunchy breadsticks you are served at tapas bars). I was also introduced to calimochos (or kalimotxo), a mix of red wine and Coca-Cola. I’d rather stick to a good Rioja in most cases, but it was fun to try one 🙂

The bakers:

If you didn’t take a gander at the article above, it’s traditional to eat a king cake, or roscón (rosca in Latin America) for the holiday. Much like in France or Louisana during Mardi Gras, a token is inserted into the cake. However, in this case, there’s a lucky token (we used a small toy) and a not-so-lucky token (a dry garbanzo bean). When eating, you must bite carefully into your piece, just in case the tokens happen to be in your slice. The lucky winner gets to wear the king crown for the night (Jordan won, so please imagine him wearing this headband–he won’t let me share the photo with you :)); the unlucky winner is required to pay for the cake. In our case, no one was unlucky, since it was homemeade. We happily dipped our slices of cake in hot chocolate.

The food was fun, the conversation more so. We had a lovely night and learned a bit more about Spanish culture. We even got to take a bit of the roscón home!

Did anyone else celebrate last night or the night before?

In case anyone is wondering, we followed a recipe from the site Javi Recetas. I’ll be spending more than a little time browsing for other recipes…

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