Though people in the U.S. are glad the holiday festivities are over after the New Year’s Eve party, the festivities in México continues: REALLY!
After the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day festivities in México City, comes January 6, Dia de los Reyes [Epiphany]: The day that the Three Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus, Christ the King. In México children get gifts on this day and is also the day when families also gather to have Rosca de Reyes, a king cake, and hot chocolate to celebrate the three Magi, Wise Men.
Mexicans place a small Christ child figurine in the cake, and the person who bites into the small figurine host a dinner party on February 2, Día de la Candelaria. The dinner party is made of tamales and atole, hot corn masa beverage — that’s of course the person getting the baby Jesus figurine doesn’t choke on it first.
After January 6th, there is a lot of activity in dressing baby Jesús, though one can find various baby Jesús shops around the city, nothing beats the section of México City’s historical center where there is a baby Jesus tianguis, market.
A square city block that is full of beauty supply stalls of wigs, eyelashes and places to have your nails done through out the year is now full of vendors selling various sizes to baby Jesus figurines: from less than a inch size to actual new born sizes.
At the tianguis you can buy baby Jesús clothing: one can select a baby Jesus outfit that reflects ones profession, like a doctor or rancher or dressed as you favorite saint, like Juan Diego, St. Judas or Santo Niño de Atocha. Like the Pope? You can find outfits of a Pope too, complete with a Papal Tiara, see image above.
Some people have had their baby Jesus in their family for generations. And if the baby Jesus breaks or is broken into small pieces – one can find artisans at this market that fix the baby Jesus like new. It is fascinating seeing the artisans working on the baby Jesus. Seeing various headless or armless baby Jesus is sort of strange; with trays full of spare parts, like miniature arms, legs and eyeballs.
The most amazing part of attending this market was finding a couple of stalls where one can buy clothing for the baby Jesus figurine that one would find in their cake, Rosca de Reyes. A Figurine a little bigger than a quarter that too one has knitted outfits to purchase: see image below.
The baby Jesus market continues until February 2nd where last minute shoppers buy their baby Jesus outfits and takes their baby Jesus to mass for more blessing. And once the mass is over, people go the home of the person that got the baby Jesus on January 6, Dia de los Reyes to tamales and atole.
Then baby Jesus is then put away, until next year, when the whole process starts over again. To see more pictures of the Baby Jesus Market in Mexico City CLICK HERE.