The Tradition of Epiphany in France

Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas, falls on January 6 and marks the official end to the festive season for many Christians.

The ancient Christian feast day is significant as a celebration of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, as well as a more general celebration of his birth.

The six Sundays which follow Epiphany are known as the time of manifestation.

In France it is tradition to bake La Galette des Rois (The cake of the kings) for Epiphany on 6 January, these cakes or pastries are eaten all month long and beyond.

In most of France, the galette des rois is traditionally a large, circular affair made of puff pastry with a crisp, golden top and a soft frangipane centre or sometimes filled with apple or other fruit, hiding the fève (a small porcelain figure).

In the south, the gateau (rather than galette) des rois is a ring shaped brioche draped here and there with slices of candied fruits to represent jeweld.

Served with cider, sparkling white wine, champagne – people often invite friends and neighbours to come and eat La Galette
The person who finds the fève in their slice of galette is crowned king or queen for the day, and gets the figurine as a keepsake.

Spain and Portugal have similar traditions for Epiphany, while in Italy carnival cakes bring communities together in a similar way.

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