Le Fête des Rois (or Kings’ Feast) is Celebrated on the Epiphany.
The Epiphany, January the 6th, the 12th day of Christmas, is when the Three Kings visit the baby Jesus. Dating back to the 14th century, the Feast of the Epiphany has been celebrated in France as “tirer les rois” (decide who is the king of the day). Part of the festivities includes a galette, a traditional flat cake, round in shape, which symbolises the sun. The galette des Rois is a delectable dessert made of puff pastry filled with crème d’amande [almond creme]. Each galette is sold with a golden crown and contains a fève hidden inside (a fava bean or a decorative charm).
The youngest child in the room slips under the table and calls out guest names to take a slice of galette. The person who draws the slice containing the fève becomes King or Queen for the day, dons the crown and chooses his Queen or her King by dropping the lucky charm in their glass. This custom managed to survive the French Revolution, when it became the ‘Gâteau de l’Êgalité [the equality cake].
Another tradition is the galette de Rois is divided into as many slices as there are guests at the table, plus one slice for a possible stranger or poor person who may come to the house. This extra portion is called the slice of God (“la part du bon Dieu”).