Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Samedi gras.

Our family celebrates Mardi Gras each year with a king cake. This year, we happened upon a king cake almost two weeks before the big day and figured, why wait? Laissez les bontemps rouler!

I'm notorious for being terrible at my one Mardi Gras job (besides buying the cake). I'm supposed to hide the "baby" so one lucky Dub can find it in his/her cake. This year, I cut the slices, hid the baby and then let each kid choose a slice.

Katie found it this time!
As it turned out, we bought two more king cakes between our "Fat Saturday" on the 14th and the real "Fat Tuesday" on Feb. 24. Our small group planned to have New Orleans food on Sunday the 22nd, so we picked up a couple of cakes to contribute to the feast. Then we had a change of plans and couldn't attend, so there we were with TWO king cakes for FOUR Dubs!

We really put the "gras" in "Mardi Gras"!


Jenna said...

I don't get it. What is the point of the King cake?

See-Dub said...

Here's the history of king cakes, as written on a card in the pastry box.

The King Cake is believe to have originated in France around the 12th century. These early Europeans celebrated the coming of the wise men bearing gifts 12 days after Christmas, calling it the feast of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night or King's Day.

The main part of the celebration was the baking of a King Cake to honor the three kings. The cakes were made circular to portray the circular route used by the kings to get to the Christ Child and confuse King Herod, who was trying to follow the wise men so he could kill the Christ Child. In these early King Cakes, a bean, a pea or a coin was hidden inside the cake. The person who got the hidden piece was declared King for the day, or was said to have good luck in the coming year.

In Louisiana, Twelfth Night also signifies the beginning of the carnival season, which ends on Mardi Gras Day. The beans, peas and coins have been replaced by a small plastic baby to symbolize the Christ Child. The person who gets the baby is expected to carry on the carnival festivities by hosting the next King Cake Party.

Jenna said...

So, originally the cake was part of a religious ceremony and was corrupted by Louisiana into a "carnival" thing with a baby Jesus thrown in for good measure? Do I have it right?

See-Dub said...

That's one interpretation--corrupted just like the Lenten season! But there's also the school of thought that the baby represents Father Time being reborn each year (like the baby new year).