Did you know that the Christmas season officially begins on Christmas Day?
As Americans, our society tends to jump from one greeting card holiday to the next. Maybe it’s because of where the holidays fall on the calendar, but Thanksgiving and Christmas kind of blend together to create one holiday season. It could be that retail stores rush into decorating and marketing for Christmas that we all consider the day after Thanksgiving the beginning of the Christmas season. In researching for this post, I discovered that isn’t the case.
I think I had heard this once upon a time, but I had forgotten. Anyway, this is why we say and sing The Twelve Days of Christmas. The twelfth day after Christmas is, as the church would call it, the “Epiphany,” “King’s Day,” or “Little Christmas.” This celebration is symbolic of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child and of Jesus’ manifestation to the Gentiles. From now on, I will be keeping my decorations up until Twelfth Night!
In Louisiana, “Twelfth Night” is the official start of the Carnival or Mardi Gras season. We celebrate with “King Cakes” which are round bread-type cakes topped with icing and colored granulated sugar in Mardi Gras colors. These colors are purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power). In recent years, bakeries have been filling the inside of the king cakes with various flavored fillings, much like filled donuts. These amazing treats can be bought at bakeries, donut shops, and pretty much any grocery store in South Louisiana and beyond. King Cakes can also be ordered online and shipped anywhere. Another tradition of the king cake is that there is a baby (plastic) inside. If you get the piece of cake with the baby, you are obligated to buy the next king cake. I wanted to try making a king cake myself for the purpose of posting about it, but I do not have the right equipment. Instead, here is a link to a recipe I found.
Here are a few pics of my grocery store-bought king cake. The first of the season! Nomenom!
Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday,” falls on February 28th this year, so we have 52 days to eat, drink, and be merry. Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, marks the beginning of the Lenten season; a time of fasting before Easter Sunday. So, as the saying goes, “Let the good times roll,” or
“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”