The king cake story goes back to ancient times when it was hard for tribes to survive the winter. Since it was so hard to survive the winter, they celebrated every spring by making a cake and putting a bean in it. We don’t know why they put a bean in it, but they did.
Later on, the Romans had festivals and had kings of the festivals. They chose the kings of the festivals by putting all of their names in a bowl and then one of them pulled a name out of the bowl. The man whose name had been pulled was crowned the king of the festival.
In the fourth century, the Catholic Church decided to put these two ideas together for the time of Epiphany. They had a cake with a bean in it and whoever got the bean was the king of Epiphany. By the 17th and 18th century all of Europe celebrated the King of the Bean or Roi de la Fe`ve as they called it. In England the twelfth cakes were a very important part of January 6th which was the twelfth day of Christmas.
When French settlers settled Louisiana, they brought with them the tradition of the Twelfth Night celebration and Twelfth cake. By 1870 this tradition became a major part of the celebration of Epiphany. A group called the Twelfth Night Revelers used the European tradition of a Twelfth cake to decide who their queen would be. They put one gold bean in a slice and a silver bean in all the other slices. Then they would give a slice to all the young ladies at the ball. The one with the gold bean would be queen. All the other ladies would have silver beans and they would be the queen’s maids.
Over the years the cake's name changed to a king cake. Now instead of a gold bean in every king cake there is a plastic baby. If the baby is in your slice, you have to throw the next party or bring the next cake. Every year at Mardi Gras there are over 500,000 king cakes sold locally and 75,000 shipped to other states. If you would be interested in getting a king cake shipped to you, go to mardigras-inabox.com.