Mexican bakers replace Christ child with Baby Yoda in king cake for Epiphany

1024px_Roscon_de_Reyes___Mallorquina.jpg A rosca de reyes for Epiphany. Credit: Tamorlan via Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0).

Several bakeries in Mexico decided to replace the Christ child with Baby Yoda in king cakes for Epiphany, causing controversy.

King cake, or rosca de reyes, is a crown-shaped sweet bread traditionally eaten in Mexico and other countries on Epiphany.

Inside the bread a small figurine of the Christ child is placed, which some businesses have replaced with a figurine of "Grogu," also known as "Baby Yoda".

In a video shared with CNA's sister agency, ACI Prensa, Father José de Jesús Aguilar, deputy director of Radio and Television of the Archdiocese of Mexico, recalled that the tradition of "hiding" the Christ child in the king cake "reminds us that the Christ Child was hidden from Herod's sight so that he could not murder him."

"For this reason it is customary to find the hidden figurine of the Child Jesus and it can only be found by those who have a good heart and who want to follow the light that the Magi followed," he explained.

"I respect all the opportunities, all the creativity that merchants and pastry chefs can have, but I would say that this could be used at another time, such as for Children's Day or birthdays," he observed.
"Catholics, Christians, should continue to value this tradition, because if not, after a while what seems important is not meeting the Christ child, the child Jesus, remembering and appreciating the story of the Gospel, but simply having fun, eating the bread and finding your favorite character within it," he said.

For this reason, continued Fr. Aguilar, "I invite you to value, take care of and continue with this tradition that the Child Jesus appears within the Three Kings Bread."
Father Luis Fernando Valdés, doctor in theology at the University of Navarra, expressed that he was "convinced that the people who put Baby Yoda in the Three Kings Bread do not do it with malice or with the intention to bother Catholics."
What is more noticeable, he pointed out, is that people "no longer identify the Christian sign, which is that we celebrate the child who appears on Epiphany, that is, it is God who becomes visible in Jesus and that is what the Magi, who were not Jewish, discover."

"When this Catholic, religious context is not in view but only the gastronomic tradition then it sounds even nice to put a baby Jesus or a Yoda or a 'something', because the religious element is no longer being taken into account but only the element of surprise and culinary tradition," he said.
Business decisions like this one, he continued, are "an invitation to the apostolate or for ourselves to rediscover the signs and help others to discover them" and are "an occasion for good catechesis."
Father Mario Arroyo, doctor of philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, said that when faced with this type of business decision, "the truth is that you no longer know whether to laugh or cry."
"I don't think that it is something against Christianity or something against faith, or that it is not done with the intention of persecuting religion. It is simply a symptom of the degree of secularization of society, we are returning to a new paganism," he said.
"It is an opportunity to take responsibility: just as the first Christians had to evangelize a pagan world, now Christians today have the wonderful task of launching ourselves confidently into the evangelization of a neo-pagan world," he said.

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