Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mardi Gras Unraveled: King Cake

History of the King Cake

The Epiphany or Little Christmas is observed on January 6 in many Christian churches. This day has come to be known as "Kings Day".

Since the 300's, King's Day has honored the meeting of the Three Wise Men with the infant Jesus. King Cakes became part of the celebration to symbolize the "finding of baby Jesus".

Traditionally King Cakes are oval-shaped to show unity of all Christians. It is also said that the oval shape represents the path that the Kings traveled after they visited Jesus. The Mardi Gras season which begins on January 6th is expressed on King Cakes by using the carnival colors of:
green (signifying Faith)
gold (signifying Power)
purple (signifying Justice).

In the past, a bean, pecan, pea, or coin was hidden inside each King Cake. Today, a tiny plastic baby is used. Sometimes the baby can be made of porcelain or even gold. As a King Cake is cut, each person awaits anxiously for a piece to locate the "baby". The person who finds the baby is "King of the Party" and obligated to bring a King Cake to the next seasonal celebration.

King Cake is very very sweet. It is generally filled with cinnamon, but you can find King Cake with many different flavors of filling......raspberry, strawberry, cream cheese, chocolate, etc. They are so yummy. I look forward to king cake every Mardi Gras season now!

1 comment:

Linda said...

I love this informative post! :) Of course though when I think of the beginning of the Lenten season, I think of Paczki instead of the Kind cake, because of my Polish heritage - and probably as in years past, we'll be enjoying some Paczkis on "Fat Tuesday". :)