A Luxembourg tradition

Have your Crown Cake and eat it on Friday

Enjoy a Galette des Rois, Crown or Kings' Cake on January 6
Photo: Chris Karaba

Not had eaten enough good stuff over Christmas? There is plenty more indulging to be had today as January 6 is Dräikinneksfest (Epiphany), a day for enjoying a special kind of cake.

This festival, which always falls on the 12th day after Christmas, is when people remember the journey of the three Kings, Kaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, to Bethlehem bearing gifts for baby Jesus.

In Luxembourg, as with many festivals, it is celebrated by eating something tasty.

Each year on January 6, people gather to share a special kind of cake known as Crown or Kings' Cake or “Galette des Rois”, in French.

You may have seen the speciality in bakeries around the Grand Duchy. They look like a giant glazed pastry and contain frangipane or a fruit jelly.

But before you go sinking your teeth in a slice of this succulent sweet, be warned. Inside each cake is hidden a surprise or “fève” (bean).

Often in Luxembourg it will be a small, porcelain figurine of a character from the nativity. The lucky person who finds the figurine in their slice gets to be “King” for a day and wears the crown.

Photo: Shutterstock

The tradition has many influences, it would seem. Cake containing frangipane (almonds) is a typical French dish which has been around long before the Epiphany feast. It was shared with friends with one slice reserved for the first pauper they saw.

The bean can be traced back to Roman times when, each year at the beginning of January, Romans celebrated a feast in honour of Saturn. They would elect a king using a black or white bean.

Today, the figurines are highly collectible.

Want to be part of the tradition? Why not get a Crown Cake from your local bakery and share it with friends or family.


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