In France, the feast of Epiphany fell on January 3rd this year. In most other countries it is celebrated on January 6th, unless one belongs to an Eastern Orthodox faith—then it may be celebrated as late as January 19th. The feast primarily commemorates the coming of the Magi--wise men from the East who, in Christian tradition, visited the infant Jesus shortly after his birth and presented him with "gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh." This tradition originates from the Gospel of Matthew (2:1-2:12). Although Matthew does not mention their number, because three gifts are recorded as having been given to the Christ Child, traditionally there are thought to have been three Magi.
On his knees is Balthasar, the youngest king, bearing frankincense and represents Africa. To the left stands Caspar, middle-aged, bearing gold and representing Asia. On the right is Melchior, oldest, bearing myrrh and representing Europe.
On Epiphany, people living in the northern half of France and Belgium eat “La galette des Rois” (the cake or "wafer" of the Kings). It is a cake celebrating the Epiphany and traditionally sold and consumed a few days before and after this date. In modern France, the cakes can be found in most bakeries during the month of January. The cake consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane (sweetened almond paste). A trinket (usually a porcelain figurine of a king), called a “fève,” is hidden inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the fève becomes "king" for a day.
In this year’s galette, the fève was a fireman in full gear (EN PLEINE ACTION !). Since I found the fève, I got to wear the golden crown.