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A Traditional Mexican Christmas with Recipe for Rosca de Reyes
By Jen E Carter

The Mexican Christmas festivities last for several weeks, starting on Dec 16th when the first of the Posada parties start. The celebrations remember Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Although initially a religious celebration, the Posada parties are now a big social celebration of the holiday season.

Every night until Noche Buena, December 24th, a party is held in a local home. The end to each posada is celebrated by the breaking of piñatas filled with candy and toys. On the night before Christmas, families often attend Midnight Mass together.

Although traditional children had to wait until January 6th, more families are allowing them to open their presents on Christmas Day. However, there are more celebrations to come.

On January 6th which is Epiphany, celebrations include:-

  1. Freshly baked Rosca de Reyes – a big oval wreath made out of bread dough and decorated with dried fruit and sugar
  2. Chocolate Caliente – steaming mugs of hot chocolate
  3. Tamales – can be a lot of work to make - steamed dumplings of rich, spicy filling wrapped in corn dough. There are three important components to a tamale: the wrapper, the dough and the filling. Although it’s rather complicated to make, no-one wonders why after they’ve taken their first bite!

Recipe for Rosca de Reyes


1 packet yeast
¼ cup of lukewarm milk
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups of sugar
7 eggs
125 grams butter
1/4 aniseed
100 grams raisins
1 tsp vanilla
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
50 grams candied figs
50 grams candied orange
50 grams candied lemon
50 grams candied cherries
50 grams candied citron
1 beaten egg

  1. Heat oven to 360° F ( 180°C)
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk
  3. Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, butter, cinnamon, aniseed, raisins, vanilla and salt
  4. Kneed for five to ten minutes until pliable
  5. Place in a bowl, cover with a teatowel and place somewhere warm to rise (1-2 hours)
  6. Cut the candied fruits into strips
  7. Form the dough into a ring or rosca.
  8. Add the baby Jesus figurine.
  9. Place the ring on a baking tray decorating the top with the candied fruit.
  10. Leave to rise again for 20-30 minutes.
  11. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle over with sugar.
  12. Bake for 40-45 minutes

Remove from the oven and serve to celebrate Christmas the Mexican way. Remember, tradition says that whoever finds the figurine of the baby Jesus has to host the next party!


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