THE CELEBRATION OF THE SIXTH OF JANUARY
Who said tradition was dead? The sixth of January is known as Twelfth Night, Epiphany or Day of Kings. It has been celebrated for hundreds of years with festivities and good food, to commemorate the visit by the Magi or Three Wise Men to the Baby Jesus.
Most of the celebrations involve a cake. In New Orleans it is called a king cake, in France, Belgium and Switzerland galette des rois, in Spain roscón de reyes and Portugal bolo-rei, to name just a few. So there is no shortage of references for terminology services.
What many of them have in common is nuts and candied and dried fruit, as fresh fruit used to be almost impossible to get in winter. In some countries, bakers put a broad bean and a pea in the cake. The man who got the bean was king for the day and the woman who got the pea was queen. In Portugal, the traditional bolo-rei used to have a dried broad bean and a trinket, until they were banned for safety reasons. Nonetheless, on the Day of Kings most people go home with a ‘king cake’ from their favourite bakery.