History of Mardi Gras and King Cakes
An observer once said that New Orleanians are either having a party, recuperating from a party, or planning a party. The biggest and best party of all and the city’s most famous celebration is Mardi Gras, “the greatest free show on earth”. Mardi Gras dates back to 1837 when the first street parade took place.
The carnival season begins January 6th (twelve days after Christmas) on Twelfth Night with the first of nearly one hundred private masked balls, followed shortly thereafter by parades. The dazzling Mardi Gras parades feature marching bands and elaborate paper mache floats with maskers tossing trinkets, beads and doubloons to the crowds. On Mardi Gras Day, the day before Ash Wednesday, the largest and longest parades are held. Rex, King of Carnival, is a prominent businessman, chosen by secret committee. His Queen is always a debutante of the current season. On Mardi Gras Day, everyone joins in the costuming, young and old alike, resident and tourist.
In European countries, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts for the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. The celebration, called Epiphany, Little Christmas or the Twelfth Night, is a time of exchanging gifts and feasting. All over the world people gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. One of the most popular customs is still the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings…”A King’s Cake”. Tradition has now evolved through time to obligate the person who receives the doll (inside every King Cake) to continue the festivities by hosting another King Cake party.
King Cakes were originally a simple ring of dough with little decoration. Gambino’s has developed its own special recipe as a signature item to become “The King of King Cakes”.
The King Cake is made with a rich Danish dough, baked and covered with a poured sugar topping and decorated with the traditional Mardi Gras-colored sugars. The end result is a delicious and festive cake in traditional Rex colors: Purple, representing Justice; Green, representing Faith; Gold, representing Power. Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are consumed at parties every year, making the King Cake another fine Louisiana tradition. A Mardi Gras party just wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras party without a Gambino’s King Cake.
*The above information is included with delivery of a King Cake from Gambino’s Bakery – – it was delicious, btw!!