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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Mexico series at SpanishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential cultural information about Mexico, Mexican Culture, and Mexican People. In this lesson, we will keep learning about winter holiday traditions in Mexico. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 6 - The Three Wise Men Day
The Three Wise Men Day, or "Día de los Reyes Magos", is a time of great joy and happiness for most children in Mexico. In Mexico, only some families have adopted the North American inheritance of Santa Claus, mainly in Mexico City and other big cities like Guadalajara and Monterrey. But outside of these cities, children must wait a bit longer to receive their present. They must wait until January 6, the day Three Wise Men come to visit their houses.
The Three Wise Men bring lots of toys, or "juguetes", and candies, or "dulces" to the children of Mexico who have behaved well. In order to receive these presents, all children excitedly rush to bed early on January 5th, and make sure to put a shoe, or "zapato", representing each family member in front of their Christmas Trees.
It’s also common for kids to leave some food, such as a glass of milk and cookies, for the Three Wise Men and their animals. Usually after midnight, while the children are asleep, the parents will wake up and hide all the presents around the house, to add some fun to this holiday!
Most of the kids wake up earlier than usual, looking for the letter, or "carta", on their shoes, that tells them that the Three Wise Men came, and also includes some comments about their behavior during the year. Then they will spend the morning looking for the hidden toys and gifts. Like children in other countries write letters to Santa Claus, children in Mexico will write letters to the Three Wise Men, tying their letters to balloons that they let go of in town squares, parks, and schoolyards.
Many schools cancel classes, or prepare special events for the kids to enjoy, bringing their new toys to play with their classmates. On the evening of January 6, families will gather to eat a special glazed bread covered with dried fruits, called "Rosca de Reyes". This bread isn’t just a sweet treat, it also has plastic figure of the baby Jesus inside, a symbolic reference to how he had to be hidden and protected during the Massacre of the Innocents held by Herod or Herodes. The people that find the hidden figures in their bread portion are supposed to host a party on February 2nd, after the Candlemass.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do parents hide presents on a similar holiday in your country as well?
Leave a comment telling us at SpanishPod101.com! Until next time!