Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Two Kings

Friday France celebrated Kings Day (Epiphany); the day Catholic tradition states that the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem to honor the Christ Child (the Latvian Zvaigznes diena). Celebrating with a “King Cake” in France is quite common, for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. According to Wikipedia, in Provence the King Cake is gâteau des Rois made of brioche and candied fruits and in the northern half of France galette des Rois, a puff pastry with frangipane. Historically there was a bean baked inside, and when eating the cake, the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket becomes “king” for a day. The beans have over time been replaced first by porcelain and now by plastic figurines.

We were lucky enough to partake in the celebration twice, the first time with our mom & baby group here in Clermont. Nadine brought a delicious King Cake (a brioche with chocolate) to share with the group, and although we skipped having a child crawl under the table to determine who receives which piece (so that there is no possibility of the chef or cake-cutter rigging the process), there was indeed a little plastic king figurine hidden in the cake. Lauris was the lucky one to discover it, and I was the lucky one to have to explain that the plastic piece is in fact not edible, and not meant to swallow, eat or place in mouth. However he was crowned king for the day and we enjoyed a couple of hours spent catching up with our Clermont friends, sipping coffee and enjoying the King Cake.

I first heard of jubilārs vēlās from my aunt and her family, where on their birthday, the birthday boy/girl is in charge (within reason) and calls the shots. They can request special meals and favors, a sort of king for a day. And so it happens that the other man in my life becomes a king for a day, as Roberts celebrates his birthday today.

Today was also our second celebration of Kings Day. In the morning I ran out to our local bakery with Lauris for a couple of fresh croissants and found a line out the front door and a camera crew filming the action. The shelves were full of galette des Rois, and I couldn't help but change my order to include one of the beautiful looking pastries to eat with our breakfast of fruit salad. It seemed only destiny that Lauris find the second figurine in his mini portion of the pastry: this one an Auvergnate rugby player!

Robert, the coming year will bring another addition to the family as well as many wonderful adventures and challenges, and I just want to remind you that your “queen” will be by your side for all of it! Daudz laimes dzimšanas dienā, mīļais!

My two kings

1 comment:

  1. Cute pictures. For us the three kings also bring presents to the kids that have been good, and coal for the ones that haven't. At least that was the kings tradition while I was growing up.


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