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The Three Kings Arrive in Acapulco

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 06 January, 2011

(Acapulco, NA 6 December) Today is “Kings Day,” or Epiphany in other countries, the day when, by tradition, the three magi or kings brought gifts to the newborn Jesus. In Mexico it is the traditional gift-giving day for children, even though “Santa Claus” and other imports from the US (like WaL-Mart) have nudged much of the Christmas gift-giving towards December 24-25. Last night, the parents rushed around the stores for last-minute items, and this morning, the children of Acapulco woke up to find the presents that the three magi-kings had left for them overnight.

Later today, families will cut the traditional “rosca” or pastry wreath, decorated with fruits and icing. Inside the rosca somewhere will be one or more small likenesses of the baby Jesus. A prize should go to the lucky ones who find it. (New Orleans folks will see in this a parallel to “Mardi Gras cakes.”) With the rosca, it is traditional to drink “atole,” a thick, slightly sweet preparation from oatmeal. Vanilla is the standard flavor, but in Acapulco, guava, mango and other tropical fruit flavors are often preferred.

Last night, in the downtown center, under colored lights, tons and tons of toys were on display in open market fashion, with the participation of hundreds of vendors. The kids hovered around, trying to decide what to hope for, and the parents watched intently, so that they could be helpful to the kings from the East. A child who had not yet written a letter to the Three Kings could do so. The correct method is to write it on, or put it in, a balloon filled with helium, and release it to the sky. One kid was overheard asking his parents “Have you bought my presents from the Magi-Kings? I sent my letter on time.”