Home Cuquita Kitchen. January brings with it the Roscón de Reyes

January brings with it the Roscón de Reyes

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Disponible en: | Available in: Español

Emma Acedo

If the New Year can be associated with anything in particular than that one thing would be the Roscón de Reyes.

On every 6th January, you will always find it taking pride of place on the table in most homes. Although this year is so strange due to the Coronavirus and its effects, the pandemic will not be able to interfere with the traditional Roscón which nobody can resist.

Everyone knows the Roscón and what it is about. That delicious round bun that we eat every year on the same dates. It’s like the Christmas Lottery Draw. It cannot be missed. Round or oval in shape, it is usually filled with cream, or just simply sprinkled with sugar and candied fruit.

The origin of this sweet dates back to the “Los Saturnales” festivities, which were celebrated in Roman times. According to history this so-called “slave festival”, back in the middle of December, it was held in honour of the god Saturn.

Inside the roscón was hidden a dry bean that represented prosperity. Whoever found it, if he was a slave, was free that day and was treated like a king. What a “prize” in those days.

According to religious texts from the fourth century AD, the Church formally institutionalized Kings Day which became a Christian holiday throughout the West. It was established that it would be on January 6, the Day of the Epiphany. It is subject to many traditions and customs, although now in Europe they say that in some places the custom is beginning to be lost. But in Spain there are always many families who continue to share the Roscón de Reyes at a family reunion every January 6, usually accompanied by a good cup of hot chocolate.

In other countries the celebration of this festival gains followers year after year, as is the case in France. There they celebrate Le Roi de la Fave (The King of the Bean). The French share a type of bun similar to the Spanish Roscón de Reyes that usually has a bean hidden inside. In the North of the country they usually take the Galette des Rois. A gastronomic product whose dough is totally different from the roscón known in Spain. It is much more compact and totally sweet.

In Mexico the tradition of the Roscón is not lost either. The tradition was imported to the Central American country back in the 16th century from Spain, and it is customary in many parts of the country to take it as a snack. For them it is the Rosca de Reyes, along with hot chocolate or atole, in addition to garnishing it with honey and dried fruits, such as dates and figs.

In Portugal the Roscón de Reyes is known as “Bolo Rei” and although its ingredients are different, we share with our neighbours the tradition of enjoying them with the family on January 6. What is it about? It usually has raisins, nuts and, like the Spanish roscón, candied fruit as decoration.

When you find the Roscón de Reyes, wherever it may be, what does not change is that inside it there are surprises that will determine the future of the morning and of almost the entire festive day of January 6. If you get the figure of the King, you don’t have to “pay” for the Roscón. If you get the figure of the Crown you will be crowned and you will become the King of your house for at least one day. Instead, if you come across the bean, you already know. It will touch your pocket and you will be the one who pays for the Roscón, but it is worth keeping this tradition to the fullest.

Disponible en: | Available in: Español

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