Wednesday, January 19

Why is there a bean in the galette des rois?

The Galette des Rois is not a cake like any other: it contains a bean. Whoever finds it receives a crown for the day.

This pagan custom dates back to ancient Roman times. Between the end of December and the beginning of January, great festivals were organized, called the “Saturnalia”, in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture and time.

The masters and slaves then ate together, and the latter even had – exceptionally – the right to make fun of their masters. In addition, a bean was inserted into one of the dishes, and the person who found this bean was designated king of the feast.

The Catholic Church then instituted the Epiphany on January 6, to celebrate the meeting between the Three Kings and the Child Jesus, but the tradition of the bean in the cake has continued.

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