Throughout Latin America, Spain, and the Bay Area, families celebrate El Día de los Reyes Magos, the Day of the Epiphany, with the sort of partying and revelry reserved for birthdays, not solemn religious holidays, featuring treats, sweets, and a special cake, the Rosca, baked just for the occasion. Desert tamales and thick, hot atole instead of apple pie and cocoa are the order of the day, and good little girls and boys know to leave their shoes out the night before, hoping to find them filled the next morning with gifts from Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthazar, ye kings three. In San Francisco, Epifanía 2008, Coro Hispano's annual Día de los Reyes concert cycle, celebrates the festivals diverse origins by performing the choral, chamber, and traditional musics of Spain and Portugal, as well as covering five hundred years worth of cultural exchange in the Spanish-speaking regions of the New World. After you hear Medieval chants, Renaissance motets, Baroque villancicos and folkloric aguinaldos dating back to the 12th century, you might be inclined to forget about Santa Claus. After all, it's the Three Kings who bring the party with them.
Sat., Jan. 5, 1 p.m., 2008