Between the two Thanksgiving tends to be associated with food more than Christmas. But Three King’s Day changes all that. I’m relatively new to the Epiphany celebration so I had to do some research and was pleasantly surprised with what I found.
Food has always been associated with Epiphany. In Mexico La Rosca de Reyes — the King’s Cake — is baked with a small doll inside. Everyone eats it very carefully and the one who finds the doll gives a party a month later. (1)
In her book Feast Nigella Lawson— whose birthday falls on January 6 — describes how to make galette des rois from filo pastry with flavors of cardamom.(2) Cubans have a “grape toast” one minute after midnight on New Year’s Day in which 12 grapes are eaten. (3)
Victorian England produced elaborately iced “Twelfth Cakes.” Even today at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane the performing company cuts a Twelfth Cake on the Sixth of January. At one time the cakes were so elaborate large crowds would gather in front of pastry shop windows to see them. Kids would see how many coattails they could pin together without getting caught.(4)
These are only a few examples of the feasting associated with Epiphany. I would tell you more, but learning about the holiday is one of the best things about it. It creates a deeper appreciation of what the holiday is and where it comes from. For best results start at 394.2 if your Library uses the Dewey Decimal System.
1. Christmas in Mexico, 1996 World Book, Chicago.
2. Feast Lawson, Nigella. 2004 Hyperion, New York.
3. Latino Holiday Book. Menard, Valerie. 2000 Marlowe & Co. New York.
4. Folklore of World: Holidays Margaret Read MacDonald, editor.