Día De La Candelaria
Yesterday was a holiday here in Mexico called Día de la Candelaria. It basically is the same as Candlemas, which is the "Presentation of Christ in the Temple".You may be familiar with the custom of taking candles to the church to be blessed.
Día de la Candelaria is celebrated throughout Latin American countries with each country having a few unique ideas for the celebration.
Another religious celebration actually leads into this one. In January, there is also a celebration Día de Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day or Epiphany), In the first celebration, traditionally the family has a cake called the "Rosca de Reyes" (King Cake) and the cake contains a tiny doll, "El Nino", symbolizing the baby Jesus. The custom is for the person who got ‘El Niño’ to serve tamales for Día de la Candelaria. I found out all about this last year when my portion of the cake contained "El Nino".
Tamales were a common food in the civilizations of the Aztecs, the Mayas, the Olmecs and the Toltecs. It is also claimed that the Aztecs chose the date of Feb 2nd to have their seeds blessed. Their reliance on corn also led to the choice of corn tamales
I also learned that people will dress a baby Jesus figurine and take him to mass for a blessing. It was my understanding that this custom is found in central Mexico but yesterday, I saw several men and women with their figurines.
The celebration is generally more of a private event with friends and families, but in some areas, such as Veracruz, there are large fiestas and even bullfights to celebrate the day.
We found a small stand with homemade tamales and they were great -- the only bad part of the day was that I could not share tamales with my friends here in the Rain.
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