French tradition: Epiphany 

Celebrated on 6 January, Epiphany corresponds to the presentation of the baby Jesus to the Three Wise Men. This day is also that of the first miracle of the Wedding at Cana, but above all it is the date of the baptism of Christ. Since the 5th century, the Church has attached considerable importance to this event which is still celebrated around the world today.

According to tradition, Twelfth Night cake is eaten at Epiphany. A charm is hidden in the King’s Cake (Galette des Rois) and the recipient of this lucky token becomes king for the day and is responsible for providing the next cake. This practice is said to have originated in the Saturnalias of Ancient Rome. The Romans used a similar token as a voting ballot to elect the king of the feast held as part of this festival. These tokens were replaced in 1870 by porcelain figurines. Formerly, tradition dictated that the cake be divided into as many pieces as there were guests, plus one. This last piece, known as “the Good Lord’s Piece”, “the Virgin’s Piece” or the “Poor Man’s Piece” was given to the first pauper to appear at the dwelling.

Epiphany signifies appearance: in this case, that of the Magi. These celebrations end on 8 January with this traditional cake, the Galette des Rois.

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