Today is January 6. If you look at a traditional French calendar, you will see the Saint of the Day. Some of the Saints for today are: Fanny, Gaspar and Balthazar. It is also the celebration of the Epiphany. Like many religious celebrations, January 6th has become a wide-spread tradition that has lost quite a bit of its original meaning. Although many French people would likely be able to tell you that it celebrates the visit of the Three Kings to Jesus, there is still quite a bit about the tradition that people don’t know.
For the most part, at the Epiphanie, the French purchase a galette des rois.
The galette is made of puff pastry, almond paste, and of course, lots of butter! Not many people bother making their own anymore. We’re all very busy all the time and puff pastry is a little tricky so most people simply purchase an industrial cake.
It’s a fun tradition. Each person gets a piece of cake and someone will find a fève (one of the French words for bean). The fève in question is now most often a very small plastic figurine, such as a baby jesus or a Virgin Mary although it now comes in many different types.
The lucky person who finds the fève becomes the King or Queen and gets to wear the paper crown that comes with the galette. That person also has the option to choose her Queen or King.
Happy Epiphany everyone!