Legend of the King Cake
Sweet indispensable to any table at Christmas
and Day of Kings, King Cake has a long history of twenty centuries
according with the legends that have come down to our days.
The oldest of the stories back to the year 745
before the foundation of Rome, when reigned in Palestine the King
Herod I, the Great. Says the legend that at that time began to
head to Jerusalem wise in astronomy, priests and some mages, integrated
into caravan of camels.
This caravan was meant to pay homage to the Messiah,
the Saviour of the World, whose birth was announced to town of
Bethlehem in Judah. ??When they were a few kilometers from their
destination, they decided to rest and tried to choose which of
them would be the first to offer their gifts to the boy that had
just been born.
How they were unable to come to an agreement,
it was decided to manufacture a cake with a fava inside that would
be shared by all
equally, as for him who touched the fava, would
be privileged to first offer his gifts, which consisted of incense,
gold and myrrh.
This episode passed from mouth to mouth, and
generalized the custom to make a cake with a fava inside whenever
needed to resolve any dispute.
However, another legend attributes the King Cake
to a pagan birth in the city of Rome during the festival dedicated
According to legend, it was customary in those
parties to designate the king symbolically, who gets a slice of
cake with a fava. Pagan by birth, this custom was adopted by Christians
for a liturgical feast to Epiphany, remembering the three Magi.
For this was confectioned a cake covered with
candied fruit and a fava inside.
More recently, the French adopted the custom
of cutting the King Cake in as many slices as the number of guests
and one more called fthe portion of God, which was intended to
satisfy the hunger of a beggar of the town. Then, a child was
distributing the slices by the attending and the contemplated
with fava was named King or Queen.
If you was a man, would choose a queen and offered
her a gift. If it was a woman, would choose a king, but wasn’t
required to give him any gift.
In Portugal, this tradition has changed. Now,
the person touching the fava have to provide on the following
year a King Cake for all the guests.