Friday, January 06, 2006

Twelfth Night

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Today, the Feast of the Epiphany, officially kicks off the Carnival season. It will culminate this year with the February 28 celebration of Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Mardi Gras is a very Catholic celebration. Find out more about that here.

Since it's Twelfth Night, that means you can start eating king cake. Yum. I myself prefer the plainer, non-filled kind. Otherwise it's too rich.

The cake itself has a lot of symbolism. It is circular or oval, to represent the circular route the Three Kings took to avoid Herod as they made their way to honor the Christ Child. The colors that top it - and that are present throughout Carnival season - are purple, green and gold. The purple represents justice, the green faith and the gold power. In New Orleans, it became tradition to hide a small plastic baby toy inside the king cake, just as Christ was hidden from the sight of the world at His birth. You are supposed to search for the baby as the Wise Men did. Whoever finds the baby (without choking on it!) gets to throw the next Mardi Gras party.

My dad went and bought us our first kind cake of the season this morning. You can order them anywhere in country from Randazzo's (my favorite) or Gambino's.

Find out more about Mardi Gras here (from The Times-Picayune) and here (from Arthur Hardy, the authority on all things Mardi Gras).

Laissez les bons temps rouler, y'all!