Mardi Gras part 1, King Cakes

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King Cakes!

As you may know, we are knee deep in Mardi Gras here in lower Alabama. Mardi Gras is an odd event, even to some of us that live here.  One Mardi Gras tradition is the King Cake.  There are many bakeries around town that make King Cakes and even a bit of competition on who makes the best one.

I had my first King Cake when I was dating my husband.  He grew up in Mobile, whereas I grew up in a more rural area of the county.  Mardi Gras wasn’t as big a deal where I grew up.  We went to a few parades a season and that was it.  Having had worked with serious Mardi Gras people over the past few years, I have learned a lot.  Back to the King Cakes.

King Cakes come in different flavors, much like moon pies, there’s a flavor for everyone.  The most popular may be the cream cheese filled cake. I prefer the cinnamon filled, it’s like a giant cinnamon roll.  But what is a King Cake and why do we have it only during Mardi Gras?

King Cakes are rolled, filled cakes shaped like an open circle, with a plastic baby hidden inside. I still haven’t found the one in this cake, I think I may have been gypped.  Please don’t choke on it.  The person who gets the baby is supposed to buy the next King Cake.  Colored sugar covers the glaze icing.  The sugar is in Mardi Gras colors: gold (power), green (faith), and purple (Justice).

Is a warning really needed?

Is a warning really needed?

The history I’ve read links the cake with Epiphany, which is when the 3 Kings visited Jesus. It occurs 12 days after Christmas, and marks the start of the Mardi Gras season, which will last until Lent.  Lent occurs six weeks before Easter.  You may have noticed that the date for Easter changes year to year, so does Mardi Gras. Some years it’s early and others it’s late.  It’s always nice when it falls on my birthday, most local businesses/schools close for Mardi Gras week!

Here is a link to an interesting article on the King Cake by Scientific American.  Given the source, some may find fault with the information.  (They like to link everything to Pagans.)  Regardless, it is an interesting article on King Cakes and Mardi Gras.

There you go.  The mysterious King Cake demystified.  What’s your favorite flavor?

CK

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Mardi Gras

It is that time of year again.  Mardi Gras!

saint with beads

Laissez les bon temps roulez.  (Let the good times roll!)  I’ve noticed something about my writing.  It follows holidays.  Or rather I am greatly influenced by the holidays and seasons.  I was writing a novel set in late summer for NaNoWriMo, but what I really wanted to write was another Christmas story.  Now, I’m almost through plotting that Christmas story and I want to write a story with Mardi Gras as a background.  What’s next, Mother’s Day at the beach?  Spring Break at the FloraBama?

Over the next few weeks, bear with me as I share tidbits of Mardi Gras legend and lore.  Something might strike your fancy for a future writing project. Today, just a bit of info.

Mardi Gras, in Mobile, has it’s first parade today.  The Krewe de la Dauphine rolls on Dauphin Island.  They seem to be first every year.  For Mobile proper, The Conde Cavaliers parade January 30.  That is the official start to parade season, which ends Tuesday, February 17.  Nights, days, and weekends will be full of parties, parades, and balls for those who fully participate in Mardi Gras.  I tend to stand on the sidelines and watch.  Most of the group I work with will be attending a Mardi Gras Ball tonight.  Can’t wait for the play by play on Tuesday.

For those that don’t know.  Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile, brought over by the French.  Basically, it’s a time of festival that occurs before Lent. Get all the fun out before you have to give everything up. Now, it’s just an excuse for weeks of partying. Because of that, the dates of Mardi Gras change, based on when Easter falls on the calender.

Is your writing influenced by holiday’s or seasons?

CK

Friday, January 30