MERIDA, Mexico – A city in eastern Mexico has set a new Guinness record after baking the world’s longest “Rosca de Reyes” (“Three Kings’ ring”) – a traditional Christmas pastry of Spanish origin typically eaten to celebrate the Catholic holiday of Epiphany – with an astonishing length of 3,009.65 meters (9,874.18 feet or 1.87 miles).
Over 30,000 people, including many pilgrims and tourists, flocked on Monday to the city of Tizimin in Yucatan state – located about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) to the east of Mexico City – to witness and taste the brobdingnagian egg-and-butter-based patisserie, which beat the previous record-holder (the northern city of Saltillo in 2019) by almost an entire kilometer.
About 40 bakers used 2.6 tons of flour, over 13,500 eggs, 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of yeast, 50 kg of salt, 625 liters (165 gallons) of milk, 187 kg of butter, 187 kg of vegetable shortening, 100 kg of sugar and 500 kg of acitron (a sweet confection traditionally made with the pulp of a several endangered cactus species).
Measuring the pythonic pastry was no easy task: it took the Guinness team – which was accompanied by medical experts – six hours to ascertain its exact size using a flexible tape measure.
The Rosca de Reyes, which is derived from the Spanish pastry known as “roscon” that was transplanted to the Americas during the 16th-century conquest, is usually filled with small figurines. In Mexico, whoever gets the statuettes is compelled to pay for tamales (filled dough dishes wrapped in corn or banana leaves) on Feb. 2, the feast of the Virgin of La Candelaria (known as Candlemas in the Anglo-Saxon world).
The record-shattering rosca in Tizimin was filled with 19,000 plastic figurines depicting Baby Jesus, as well as 20 made out of clay.
Tizimin has the largest sanctuary in Latin America dedicated to the Three Kings, second only to the cathedral of Cologne, Germany.
“We managed to create not only the world’s biggest Rosca de Reyes, but also the most special of them all due to the fervor of residents and pilgrims when they reach the sanctuary of the Three Kings,” said Sergio Fiscal, one of the head bakers behind the feat.
The Three Kings, Biblical Magi or Three Wise Men are briefly mentioned in the New Testament’s Gospel of Matthew, though their supposedly monarchic status is not. The Bible describes them as foreign visitors who arrived in adoration after Jesus of Nazareth’s birth bearing the symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Later interpretations of the legend introduced their kingly qualities to make Christ’s birth coincide with Old Testament prophecies.
Throughout the Middle Ages, they became an important part of Christmas celebrations and nativity depictions in Western Christianity, especially in southern Europe.
In Spain and Mexico – as well as most parts of Latin America – Christmas gifts were usually received on Jan. 6, though the modern Santa Claus lore has become more and more popular with the spread of globalization and now many Spanish-speaking children unwrap their season’s presents on the morning of Dec. 25, too.