Rosca de Reyes: Faithful flock to El Paso’s Bowie Bakery for traditional sweet bread

Border Culture

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The holiday season is not quite over for many families in the Borderland, as they are celebrating Dia de Los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day, which is associated with the feast day of Epiphany every Jan. 6.

“We’re going to have family over to celebrate the three kings of Bethlehem when they went to visit Baby Jesus,” said Maria Arroyo, who was at Bowie Bakery in South El Paso to purchase the signature sweet dish for the holiday: the Rosca de Reyes.

Bowie Bakery, a local staple with various locations across El Paso, takes pride in preparing the traditional Rosca de Reyes, a circular-shaped bread meant to symbolize the biblical story of the arrival of the Three Wise Men to visit the newly born Baby Jesus.

The bread is decorated with colorful candied fruits on top and, in Latin America, it is customary to share with family and friends over hot chocolate and tamales.

Most significant, though, is the figurine of Baby Jesus that is hidden and baked into the bread.

“It’s supposed to represent Jesus being hidden from King Herod,” said Claudia, the manager at Bowie Bakery.

Furthermore, whoever finds the Baby Jesus figurine in their slice is expected to throw a party on February 2.

“My oldest tries to cheat but I always try not to let her but they’re just excited to see who’s going to get the baby,” said April Lizcano as she stepped out of the bakery with her fresh-baked Rosca de Reyes.

Bowie Bakery management said it expects to sell around 1,200 Roscas de Reyes on this Twelfth Day of Christmas.

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