Customers line up at La Mascota bakery in Boyle Heights where traditional ‘roscas de reyes’ are stacked on the shelves. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

January 5 is a busy day at Boyle Heights bakeries, where customers line up to purchase the traditional ‘rosca de Reyes,’ the ring-shaped bread eaten by Mexican families on the Catholic holiday of Three Kings Day (Jan. 6).

At La Mascota Bakery on Whittier Boulevard, roscas of various sizes and wrapped in plastic are stacked on the counters. The sweet breads are decorated with ate, a Mexican fruit paste, and can go for as much as $29.95 for the large.

Here, roscas are sold with a warning about the small plastic toy hidden in the dough –that’s following the tradition of hiding a figurine of Baby Jesus in the bread. In 2015, BHB student journalists wrote about how local residents celebrate the traditional Spanish and Latin American holiday of the Three Kings, known also as the Epiphany.

In some Boyle Heights homes, whoever gets the piece of bread with the figurine inside is charged with getting tamales for the Feb. 2 Feast of the Candlemas (Candelaria). Read the full story here.

This story was updated on Jan. 6 to note that Three Kings Day is a Catholic holiday.

Photo above: Customers buy their roscas at La Mascota bakery.

Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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