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Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois 2016


King for a day

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Why you will love it?

The Galette des Rois (King's Cake) is a tradition that is celebrated all over France. Celebrated during the Epiphany on January 6th, the tradition is to buy and share a special cakewith a little charm hidden inside. The one that gets the charm becomes king for a day, hence the name Galette des Rois. The tradition lasts until the end of the month of January. Find out all you need about this tradition now.

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During the whole month of January, a special cake is highlighted in the windows of the local bakeries and sits beside the croissants and baguettes. This round frangipane cake is the Galette des Rois (King's Cake). It might not be something you have heard about (except if you live in Louisiana), but in France, it's a big deal!

The occasion: To celebrate the Epiphany, the day in the Christian religion when the Wisemen arrived to visit and bare gifts to the newborn baby Jesus.

The tradition: The person that gets the hidden lucky charm becomes king or queen for a day!

Rules of play

Here’s how the game unfolds:

1 - Guests are invited to gather around the Galette des Rois, which has previously been cut to make sure that each guest will have a slice.

2 - The youngest person present crawls under the table and will randomly shouts out the name of someone in the room. A slice is then given to that named person. Once everyone is served, it’s time to eat.

3 - One of the slices has a hidden charm inside! The one that has that charm in his/her slice gets to be king (or queen) for the day, crowned with the paper crown that comes with the Galette des Rois.

Parisianist Fun Fact: According to a survey, 68% of people cheat in order to give the charm to a child who is present.

How it started

The Galette des Rois celebration has more or less been being celebrated for nearly 2000 years!

The origins dates back to ancient Rome when a slave was designated to become king for a day by his wealthy roman family. In those days, the person who found the charm would designate which slave would become "king". the latter could give orders to his master for a day. The next day, the elected king would return to his role as a slave or, in very rare circumstances, unfortunately be put to death. Eventually this ancient roman tradition was modified and is now the holiday that we know today, used to celebrate the Epiphany.

Cake Time

The Galette des Rois is generally made out of frangipane, which is the case for most of France except for in the south where it looks more like a giant doughnut shaped fruitcake. The ancient broad bean charms were replaced by ceramic ones in the shape of baby Jesus in the 18th century. Today, while some traditional charms are still related to religion and the Holy Child, most charms are fantasy objects in ceramic or plastic.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Some people even collect the charms, with people having collections of over 100 000 charms… and counting!

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