Today is the Epiphany. Time for all of us Catholics to take our CHRISTmas tree down. There's only one problem. As much as I love to put a tree up, I detest taking it down, therefore I find creative ways to keep it standing and since mine is small and artificial, it will remain standing. The nativity stays up too. We should always be reminded throughout the year of the birth of Jesus.
Of course, we have Mardi Gras coming up and today I heard the first Mardi Gras song of the season. Would you like to sing it with me?
Mardi Gras Mambo Mambo
Mardi Gras Mambo Mambo
Down in New Orleans
Ah! How sad that the Mardi Gras in New Orleans will not be the same this year, but I promise you, we will still enjoy it elsewhere in the state.
Eating our King Cakes and discovering the babies inside.History of the King Cake
image courtesy mardigrasstore.com The Mardi Gras season begins on January 6 and continues until Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. During this time of year, one of the most beloved traditions in New Orleans is that of the King Cake.
On the Christian calendar, the twelfth day after Christmas is known as "Epiphany", "Twelfth Night", or "Kings Day." It is the day the gift-bearing Magi visited the baby Jesus, and is celebrated with its own unique rituals.
The New Orleans tradition, begun in the 1870s, borrows heavily from European customs. As part of the celebration of Mardi Gras, it is traditional to bake an oval cake in honor of the three kings - the King Cake. The shape of a King Cake symbolizes the unity of faiths. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power. A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is baked into each cake.
In New Orleans, King Cake parties are held throughout the Mardi Gras season. In offices, classrooms, and homes throughout the city, King Cakes are sliced and enjoyed by all. Like the biblical story, the "search for the baby" adds excitement, as each person waits to see in whose slice of cake the baby will be discovered. While custom holds that the person who finds the baby in their slice will be rewarded with good luck, that person is also traditionally responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party or gathering.
The traditional King Cake is made from twisted strands of cinnamon dough, topped with icing, and sprinkled with purple, green, and gold colored sugar. Today, many additional varieties of King Cake are also available, with fillings such as cream cheese, strawberry, apple, and lemon.
May the God of love and peace set your hearts at rest and speed you on your journey; may he meanwhile shelter you from disturbance by others in the hidden recesses of his love, until he brings you at last into that place of complete plenitude where you will repose forever in the vision of peace, in the security of trust, and in the restful enjoyment of his riches.
- St. Raymond of Penafort (1175-1575)