Did you know that the 12 Days of Christmas actually ended this past Sunday? If you did, you might also have known it marked the beginning of…Carnival Season.
If you’re a Mardi Gras fan, this is not news. Carnival officially begins on Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. And, if you have a New Orleans connection, you most likely had a piece of King Cake to kick off the festivities.
1. Epiphany or Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) celebrates the visit of the three Wise Men who journeyed to worship the baby Jesus.
2. On that day a King Cake is made with a tiny baby figurine hidden inside.
3. The cake is decorated in three colors.
3. When the cake is cut, whoever gets the piece with the baby Jesus is “king” for a day.
Supposedly, the Wisemen’s journey lasted 12 days and found them arriving on January 6-Epiphany. Coming together for you a bit?
For me, like any festival, it’s all about the food. And for those in the Deep Southern states, who celebrate Mardi Gras, it’s all about the King Cake or Twelfth Night Cake.
King Cakes are similar to a large cinnamon roll. Usually baked in a ring shape, and, frosted or iced with the three colors of Mardi Gras: gold, green, and purple. And of course, in honor of our three kings.
The baker of the King Cake hides a surprise in the cake (a dried red bean or a figurine of a baby representing the Christ child). When the cake is cut whoever gets the piece with the hidden treasure is said to enjoy good luck for the coming year. Tradition used to be that you were king for a day. Nowadays, you have to bake the King Cake or throw the Mardi Gras party next year.
I am always amazed. If you look deep enough into most holidays or festivals (at least those created prior to the 1900s) many seem to have a religious connection or symbolism. Interesting, yes?
Just my thoughts,