Okay, so as a born and bred Pennsylvanian, the product of an established Lancaster family, I should be writing about Fastnacht doughnuts. But hey, I can get doughnuts anytime!! They make them at the farmer’s market for crying out loud.
Today, on Fat Tuesday, I need to share something with you that I hope you include in your annual Mardi Gras tradition. It’s called a King Cake and is as sacred to me as pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day.
The King Cake is believed to have originated in France around the 12th century where a special cake honoring the three kings was created. “King Cake Season” starts on January 6th, twelve days after Christmas. This day is also called Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or King’s Day and represents the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts to the Christmas Child. The season ends on Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras day, the day before Lent begins.
In early days, a bean, pea, or coin was hidden inside the cake. Today a plastic baby is used and the person who gets the baby is declared king or queen for a day or is said to have good luck in the coming year and is responsible for throwing the next Mardi Gras celebration. They say that during the Depression, children caught heck for getting the hidden gift because their families could not afford to host next year’s party.
The Cake is decorated with the three colors of carnival: Green which represents faith, Purple which represents justice, and Gold which represents power. They are more like a stuffed strudel than a cake with layers of solid sugar icing and colorful sprinkles. If you order one online from http://buylouisiana.com/, it will come with a Mardi Gras cup, coins, sparkling beads, and of course, a little baby.
So add this to your traditions and on this Fat Tuesday I wish you all a season of Faith, Justice, and Power. Long live the King Cake!!