Epiphany around the World

The first time I saw a king’s cake was 10 years ago when I first got to France. Some friends invited me over for a coffee and the host of the house prepared a sort of cake I’d never seen before displayed at the center of the table. They explained every year for Epiphany, they would get together to eat a king’s cake, a custom previously unknown to me. Curious and interested, I carefully observed. It all starts with cutting and handing out the evenly-portioned pieces of cake to the guests. For this, all the children go under the table and individually name out each person as a random piece cake is given to them. I tasted my piece and found the puff pastry cake filled with frangipane to be simple, but tasty. Then, I bit into something hard. Being polite, I discretely placed in my napkin. Looking closer at it, I could see it was a hand-painted porcelain charm. The person sitting next to me who saw my discovery placed a paper crown on my head and declared me “the king.”

-J.M., United States

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