Tradicionalmente en México el día 2 de febrero se celebra el día de la candelaria que en el calendario católico marca el fin de las celebraciones de navidad, ya que es cuando termina la cuarentena después del nacimiento del niño en Jesus.
La Rosca de Reyes
Tradicionalmente en el Día de la Candelaria los tamales se acompañan con atole de Maíz y durante el Día de Muertos los tamales se acompañan con Chocolate.
It’s told that on January 6th, in the early morning, the three Wise Men arrived from the Orient to visit the baby Jesus. In Mexico, we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men by eating the famous Rosca de Reyes (a traditional cake). It is a moment to share – with friends, colleagues, or relatives, and hopefully all of the above – and so we eat Rosca de Reyes in Mexico on January 6th. Traditionally, each person cuts his own piece of the cake, and a number of little dolls have been baked into the cake to represent the baby Jesus. If you get a piece with a doll, you have to buy or make the tamales for Candelaria, February 2nd.
In Mexico, there are no tamales more famous than Oaxacan tamales. In fact, there are carts in Mexico City that promote them with a jingle that says: “hot, delicious, Oaxacan tamales.” The truth is that these tamales, although they are delicious, don’t come close to real Oaxacan tamales…
In Oaxaca the best Tamales… In the Merced Market, you can find the best Oaxacan tamales that you could ever hope to try. It’s simply the best place to buy them. Inside this market, one of the most traditional stalls is called “Tamales Geno”, staffed by Aurorita, who told us that she’s the daughter of Doña Geno (for whom the stall is named).
Aurorita and her family have sold tamales in this market for more than 60 years, and her grandmother used to sell tamales from a basket when the market was still outside the Merced Church.
Aurorita told us that they sell tamales the whole year, but there are two days in which they sell the most: February 2nd, Candelaria, and the Day of the Dead. Traditionally, tamales are eaten with corn atole during Candelaria, while they’re eaten with chocolate during Day of the Dead.
If you want tamales for February 2nd, you can only get them by ordering ahead, since Tamales Geno – or Aurorita – sell more than a thousand tamales on this day.
The best tamales are the mole ones, which cost up to 20 pesos, and are the only tamales wrapped in banana leaves. One tamal with chicken breast and black mole can weigh up to half a kilo. The types of tamales that are wrapped in corn husks are rajas (strips of jalapeño pepper), yellow mole, green salsa, beans, chepil (a wild green), and sweet tamales, and the price ranges from $7 to $12 pesos.