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Measuring 24 feet x 2.5 feet the rosca competes for a place in the records as Los Angeles largest ever Rosca de Reyes.
By Tammye McDuff
Honoring one of the most cherished holiday traditions in the Latino community, the California Milk Processor Board, alongside Portos Bakery and the Downey City Council unveiled an enormous Rosca de Reyes on January 5, 2018, to commemorate ‘Three Kings Day’.
Measuring 24 feet x 2.5 feet the rosca competes for a place in the records as Los Angeles largest ever Rosca de Reyes. The rosca is ring shaped sweet bread adorned with dried and candied fruits, figs, quinces and cherries. To create this rosca, 60 pounds of flour was needed, 70 eggs, 12 pounds of sugar and 18 pounds of butter. Roughly weighing in at 125 pounds of dough, 48 large sticks of rosca were baked to put together this 24 foot pastry.
The rosca is traditionally eaten on January 6th during the celebration of the Dia de Reyes, literally translating as ‘Kings’ Day’, which commemorates the arrival of the three Magi or Wise Men. In many Hispanic communities in the United States, this is the day when children traditionally get presents, which are attributed to the Three Wise Men. Before the children go to bed, they leave a dish filled with biscuits and a few glasses of water for the three wise men and the camels. A plastic baby Jesus is hidden in the bread. Whoever finds the figurine is blessed and must take the figurine to the nearest church on February 2nd for the celebration of Candlemas Day. The person then has the responsibility of hosting a dinner and providing tamales and atole to their guests. In communities with large Mexican and Mexican-American populations, such as Los Angeles, the celebration includes the Mexican hominy stew pozole, which is made for all one’s neighbors.
Adding to the festivities, attendees took pictures with the rosca, guessed its dimensions and looked to find small trinkets hidden inside for a chance to win toys and prizes. An arts and crafts area was open for children to create their own carta a los reyes, or letter to the Kings. Dance group Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca added to the event with colorful and joyful performances.
Steve James, Executive Director for the California Milk Processor Board knows the value and importance Downey residents place on roots and traditional values, “We are pleased that milk continues to have a featured place at dinner tables during special occasions and year round.” Donations were given to Careers through Culinary Arts Program [C-CAP] and Homegirl Café by the California Milk Processor Board.
“We are proud to keep this much loved holiday tradition alive in our community,” said Betty Porto, Vice President of Community Relations, “Celebrating these traditions together with family and friends is what keeps our communities connected to each other and thriving.”
On hand to help with the unveiling was Downey Mayor Sean Ashton, noted this first time presentation was a great tradition to add to the calendar of events and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Rodriguez added, “As You can see the line is all the way around the block. And that’s what Portos is, a family business, and when they do things the family is the center of their business model and everyone comes out to support them.”