By Pablo Jaime Sainz
In Tijuana, as in the rest of Mexico and other parts of Latin America, the Holiday season doesn’t end with New Year’s Day.
On January 6, Mexicans celebrate Día de Reyes, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for Baby Jesus.
The Wise Men are coming, the Wise Men are coming, on their way to Bethlehem, olé, olé, Holy land and olé, Holy land can be seen, goes a traditional Mexican song. (I will include fragments of this traditional song throughout this article.)
Before going to bed the children place their old shoes under their bed or in the living room, where the Wise Men will leave them their presents. Some also place outside the house, some hay and a bucket with water for the animals, and even some cookies and milk for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar.
Carrying lots of toys, carrying lots of toys, for the Child in Bethlehem, olé, olé, Holy land and olé. Holy land can be seen.
Bakeries and supermarkets offer the Rosca de Reyes, an oval sweetbread, decorated with candied fruit.
What a load they carry, what a load they carry, the camels bearing all the toys, for the King of Heaven, that is in the portal, that is in the portal.
Hidden inside this delicious Rosca, there are several plastic figurines of Baby Jesus. The Baby is hidden because it symbolizes the need to find a secure place where Jesus could be born, a place where King Herod would not find Him.
The camels are loaded with toys, for the King of Heaven, who is in the portal.
Each person cuts a slice of the Rosca. The knife symbolizes the danger in which the Baby Jesus was in.
Since the journey is too long, since the journey is too long, the Child asks for water, olé, olé, Holy land and olé. Holy land can be seen.
One by one the guests carefully inspect their slice, hoping they didn’t get the figurine.
Whoever gets the baby figurine shall be the host, and invite everyone present to a new celebration on February 2, Candelaria or Candle mass day, and he also shall get a new Ropón or dress for the Baby Jesus of the Nativity scene. Usually on this day people serve tamales and hot chocolate for the guests.
Don’t ask for water my love, don’t ask for water my love, don’t ask for water my dear olé, olé, Holy land and olé, Holy land can be seen.
The Día de Reyes is also celebrated in Spain, in parts of Latin America, and even in the United States, where large communities of Mexican immigrants have established.
The rivers are turbid, the rivers are turbid, and you can’t drink its water, olé, olé, Holy land and olé. Holy land can be seen.
Although a popular tradition in Baja California thanks to the immigrants from southern Mexico, it is in Mexico City and surrounding areas where Día de Reyes is stronger than anywhere else. Until a few years ago, it wasn’t uncommon that children hadn’t even heard of Santa Claus. Instead, they asked for gifts from Reyes Magos.
If you would like to celebrate Día de Reyes with a rosca, you can go to any supermarket and buy one for you and your family. They come in different sizes, from small ones for three people to the very large ones for parties of up to 20.
They say He was born, they say He was born, without dippers or cloths, but the moon is God’s bed sheet. God’s bed sheets God’s bed sheets.
The celebration in Tijuana
This year, the City of Tijuana will have its third Cabalgata de Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men Parade) on the afternoon of Friday, January 5, at Explanada de Palacio Municipal (City Hall Court).
The first time the cabalgata took place was in 2005, and it was a great success among children.
Tijuana’s First Lady María Elvia Amaya de Hank said that one of the purposes of this celebration is to reaffirm Mexican traditions and to work in favor of the most disadvantaged communities in the city.
More than 30 organizations and companies have donated toys and food so that Tijuana children, in addition to viewing a great event, can have the opportunity to receive a gift from the hands of the Three Wise Men themselves.
“We’re hoping that every kid that attends the event will receive a present, which in many cases, will be the only present they will receive this year,” she said.
The First Lady added that as part of the celebration, on the night of January 5, every person that attends the event will receive free rosca de reyes cake and hot chocolate.
The cabalgata, which took about three months to organize, will include 13 cars that will illustrate different scenes from the Epiphany. The surprise this year is that the Three Wise Men will be riding an elephant, a horse, and a camel. More than 20,000 toys will be distributed to the children that attend the cabalgata.
The event will also raise funds for a new Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF) Center in Tijuana, which will provide social services for needy families in the city.
The Cabalgata de Reyes Magos is on Friday, January 5, at Explanada de Palacio Municipal (City Hall Court). More than 120,000 people are expected to attend.