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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 to Saturn.

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.