Most everyone enjoys a delicious king cake. But do you know where king cakes originally came from?
In France, the traditional king cake – known as the galette des rois – is only eaten around the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6.
For Many, Jan. 6 is known as King’s Day (hence, king cake), Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, because it falls 12 days after Christmas. In Christianity, it is the day that three wise men followed a star to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. Jan. 6 marks the final day of the Christmas season and the official start of Carnival season in south Louisiana.
King cake season, technically, lasts from the Twelfth Night until Fat Tuesday.
Some people are militant when it comes to this tradition and don’t even want to see a king cake before King’s Day. However, for many of the local markets in Louisiana, king cakes show up almost as soon as presents are unwrapped on Christmas day and don’t disappear from store shelves until after Mardi Gras, which lands on Feb. 25 this year.
King cakes started out roughly 300 years ago as a dry French bread-type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside. Now, they come in every shape and variety with a small figurine, called a fève, hidden inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the fève, most commonly a small baby, is granted privileges and obligations – like buying the next cake.
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