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The History of the King Cake

The Mardi Gras season begins on January 6th, also known to Christians as "Epiphany". As a symbol of the Holy Day of Epiphany, a tiny plastic baby is included with each King Cake. The person who gets the piece with the baby is traditionally supposed to supply the next King Cake.

The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. A King Cake is an oval shaped bakery delicacy that is rich in both flavor and history. The King Cake is decorated in the three Mardi Gras colors that have certain historical and symbolic significance. Purple symbolizes "Justice", Green stands for "Faith", and Gold for "Power". These colors were to resemble a jeweled crown honoring the Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. In the past such things as coins, beans, pecans and peas were hidden inside of the Kingís Cake. Today, a small plastic baby is usually the prize. At a party the cake is sliced and served and each person looks to see if their piece contains the "baby". A chant of "Iíve got the baby!" means that that person is obligated to supply the next cake.