How Do They Celebrate January 6th in France?

In France, January 6th is celebrated with parties highlighted by the "galette des rois," or "cake of kings." January 6th is also known as Epiphany. It marks the end of the Christmas holiday and two significant events in the Christian religion: the arrival of the three wise men at Jesus' birth and the day Jesus was baptized.

In France, the cake of kings is served on Epiphany, January 6th. The cake is made from puff pastry with a filling of frangipane cream. The cream is made from butter, almonds, eggs, sugar and almond extract.

Tradition dictates that the cake is cut into as many pieces as there are guests, plus an extra one for the first poor person that passes by the door. A small ceramic or plastic toy, not too small as to prevent swallowing, is inserted into one of the pieces. The guest who receives the cake serving with the charm becomes king or queen of the day. This person then puts the charm into the glass of another male or female guest at the party, and the couple reigns together. When the tradition first began, a fava bean was used as the trinket. Over the years it evolved to porcelain toys.