It's the most wonderful time of the year! I'm enjoying my last day of Christmas music as I relax after our Epiphany party which closes out the official holiday season. Although technically the current church calendar observes next Sunday, the Baptism of the Lord as the terminus. I think I may leave the Christmas trees up until then just so that I can squeeze out the last drop of Christmas.
In high school Spanish class we all did reports on holiday celebrations. One of my friends prepared Rosco de los Reyes, Kings' Ring, and gave me the recipe. It is a fruit and nut filled sweet bread decorated to look like a crown. I think this year I finally mastered the yeast, because even my friend Mrs. F. told me this was the best one yet. It is customary to hide a small porcelain doll representing the Christ child inside the cake and whoever finds it in their piece is obligated to host another party on February 2nd, Candlemas or El Dia de la Candelaria. Every year I say I am going to go to a Mexican tienda to purchase a little doll so that I can stop wrapping a bean in foil as a substitute. One day I'll follow through on this!
A few years ago at Mass we were given some blessed chalk and a prayer to say at home to bless the house and its inhabitants for the coming year. We inscribe 20+C+M+B+10 which has two meanings. In Latin Christus mansionem benedicat, May Christ bless the house. Alternatively it is the traditional names of the three Kings: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
I also like to burn a frankincense and myrrh incense. This year I added a little gold garland to the table as a subtle nod to the third gift from the magi.I have been making borscht for the last few years. There is no particular cultural significance, just the fact that we love beets and soup is so nice and wintery. It makes sense to eat borscht because it is season.