On the 12th day of Christmas (yesterday) I celebrated by making a King Cake.
“The King Cake is believed to have originated in France around the 12th Century. These early Europeans celebrated the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts twelve days after Christmas calling it the feast of the Epiphany. Twelfth Night or King’s Day.
The main part of the celebration was the baking of a King Cake to honor the three Kings. The cakes were made circular to portray the circular route used by the Kings to get to the Christ Child and confuse King Herod, who was trying to follow the wise men so he could kill the Christ Child. In these early King Cakes, a bean, a pea, or a coin was hidden inside the cake. The person who got the hidden piece was declared King for the day, or was said to have good luck in the coming year.
In Louisiana, Twelfth Night also signifies the beginning of the carnival season, which ends on Mardi Gras Day. The beans, peas and coins have been replaced by a small plastic baby to symbolize the Christ Child. The person who gets the baby is expected to carry on the carnival festivities by hosting the next King Cake Party”.
Since I just came back from New Orleans, I decided to celebrate the Twelfth Night as well and make a King Cake from scratch. It was quite tasty and my friend Erin got the baby so I expect she’ll be making the next one real soon!