The Epiphany in Provence

The sharing of the Kings' cake marks the end of the Christmas season. This delicious conclusion takes place during Epiphany, on January 6th, which is 12 days after Christmas. Since Epiphany doesn't always fall on a holiday, it's customary to celebrate it on the first Sunday of January when everyone can gather.

Brioche or puff pastry galette? Originally - in Roman times - it was a cake filled with fruits and topped with a bean, the first edible seed of the spring back then. This cake was shared by the whole household during the Saturnalia, which celebrated the lengthening of days after the winter solstice. Everyone participated, masters and slaves alike. Whoever found the bean, regardless of their status, became the king for the day. The roles between masters and slaves were reversed.

It wasn't until the 3rd century that Rome Christianized this pagan festival to symbolize the Epiphany, linked to the divine appearance of Jesus to the Magi. Epiphany, like the Saturnalia, heralds a new era.

In the 14th century, the Avignon Popes brought this cake to France. It was a brioche crown. The round shape represents the journey taken by the Magi, and the candied fruits, produced in Apt at the time, symbolize the treasures they offered to Jesus.

Since then, the rest of the French-speaking countries have adopted the galette with frangipane filling and a figurine, while Provence remains faithful to the original brioche. This brioche hides 2 objects, the figurine and also the bean, remnants of the Saturnalia. The cake is divided into as many slices as there are guests, and the youngest person hides under the table to distribute the slices randomly. Whoever finds the bean must offer the next cakes, and the festivities last until the end of January!

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