January 6th marked the beginning of the Mardi Gras season. To understand the history and reason behind the King Cake, you first have to understand that Mardi Gras is also known as Twelfth Night and to Christians as “Epiphany.”
It’s a phrase many of us have used before to refer to a sudden revelation that has come to us. “I just had an epiphany.”
The world actually means “to show.” The significance to Christians is that it refers to the day during which tradition holds that the three wise men were first shown Jesus.
To symbolize the showing of the Christ-child to the “3 Kings,” a plastic baby is placed inside each of the King Cakes.
It’s origins and tradition are thought to have originated in New Orleans after having been brought from France around the year 1870.
The colors used on these traditional cakes are Purple (signifying Royalty), Green (representing Faith), and Gold (symbolizing Power.) The cake itself is meant to portray a jeweled crown in honor of the 3 Kings and their visit to the baby Jesus.
The common method and tradition associated with the serving of the King Cake is that each person receives a piece. If your piece contains the plastic baby you are designated the “king” for that day but are also responsible for hosting the next party and providing the next King Cake.
What next party you might ask? Well many have a tradition of holding a King Cake party every week up until Fat Tuesday.
When you are ready for your next King Cake look no further than your local Market Basket Bakery. Our King Cakes are second to none.