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 200’s, the 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. The Mardi Gras season which begins on this “Twelfth Night” (January 6th) is expressed on King Cakes by using the carnival colors of green (signifying Faith), gold (signifying Power), and 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. 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.
Start this Mardi Gras Tradition in your home, class, or office. King Cake season ends on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday”), the day before Lent begins.