Created on: February 02, 2010 Last Updated: February 14, 2013
Today, in celebration of King’s Day, also called Twelfth Day, and throughout the Mardi Gras season, King Cakes are baked, served and eaten at many of the festivities, including special “King Cake” parties. According to legend and tradition, a small figure of an infant Jesus or other small trinket is often hidden in the King Cake for good luck.
Once the King Cake is sliced and served, whoever gets the piece of cake with the small trinket will be rewarded with some good fortune. An old English Twelfth Night version of this early tradition had the host or hostess serving a pie or cake which hid a bean and a pea. Those getting the bean or the pea were designated “King” and “Queen” of the festivity.
Drawing the lucky piece hidden in a King Cake traditionally also comes with some extra responsibilities, such as supplying the King Cake at a future celebration, hosting a “King Cake” party, even possibly fulfilling some church duties, depending on the church and the geographic region. The traditions of King Cake and King Cake parties have become a real favorite of the Mardi Gras season over the years.
Mardi Gras, an extended period of partying, revelry, and overindulging, officially begins on January 6, which is King’s Day, also called Twelfth Day and the Epiphany. The Mardi Gras season ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which begins the forty-day Christian observance of Lent, a time of penance, self-reflection and contrition to atone for the overindulgence. King’s Day is thought to have originated back when the Three Kings, or three Wise Men, brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus shortly after his birth.
Many of the Mardi Gras traditions, including the celebration of King Cake, that are celebrated in the U.S., can be traced back to the French and Spanish who settled in the Louisiana region back in the early 1700s. Some of the earliest traditions can be traced back to pre-Christian Western Europe, when pagan rituals were the norm and often included human sacrifice.
There are a multitude of recipe ideas you can use when making a King Cake. Some King Cakes use dough flavored with cinnamon, some include fillings such as cream cheese or fruit. One of the more traditional King Cakes is made with a twisted or rolled dough similar to coffee cake dough, which is then formed into an oval or circular shape said to signify the unifying of the faiths.
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
What is King Cake and why is it so popular during Mardi Gras season?
The King Cake is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years to the time of the pagans. Thankfully the King Cake
Carnival was once described by writer Robert Tallent as "a mock revival of monarchic rule." In New Orleans, the thrill and
Today, in celebration of King’s Day, also called Twelfth Day, and throughout the Mardi Gras season, King Cakes are
by Kat Ballew
King Cake and its popularity during Mardi Gras season is part of the Christian Faith. It is served during the celebrations
by Lenna Gonya
King cake is more bread than cake, formed into a circle like a large doughnut, and decorated with icing or colored sugar,
View All Articles on: What is King Cake and why is it so popular during Mardi Gras season?
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.