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King Cakes and Beads

Updated on February 20, 2013

King Cake

I bought a King Cake yesterday in honor of  upcoming Fat Tuesday, the last day of Mardi Gras. My two children love them. A King Cake is like a cinnamon roll with creme cheese filling and icing with purple, green, and golden yellow sprinkles. A King Cake is rich and delicious.

The king cake was originally a French concoction, originating around the 12th century. Early Europeans celebrated the coming of the three wise men (royal colors, purple, gold, green and their names, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar) twelve days after Christmas calling it the Feast of the Epiphany, or King's Day.

The baking of the cake was the main part of the celebration. The cake was baked in a circle to signify the circular route the used by the Kings to get to the baby Messiah and to confuse King Herod whom as the story goes was trying to find Jesus and kill the Messiah.

In the early days a bean, a coin or a pea was hidden inside the cake. Whoever found the hidden object in their piece was declared King for the day, or was said to have good luck for the coming year.

Today in Louisiana the Feast of Epiphany or Twelfth Night signifies the beginning of the Carnival Season, which ends on Mardi Gras day. The beans, coins, and peas have been replaced by plastic babies to signify the Christ Child. The person who gets the baby is supposed to host the next King Cake Party.


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Beads

You can buy beaded necklaces all over New Orleans. They are thrown from the parade floats during Mardi Gras and just about any time from balconies on Bourbon Street.

Legend has it sometime in the 1840s colorful glass beads and sugar coated almonds were tossed into the crowds as a version of an English Renaissance era custom. A type of promenade, the local aristocracy of a town would parade down the main street, throwing the beads and almonds to the poor people of the town.

The New Orleans custom started to mock the royal custom. The peasants dressed up as aristocrats and paraded through the streets of town. Apparently the beads don't really hold much significance today except for the colors. Purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. The beads are thrown from the Mardi Gras parade floats by members of the krewes. The beads are said to signify good luck.

Apparently if you are in New Orleans in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras you can get some beads if you show some skin (mainly bare breasts). I wouldn't know anything about that. My Husband went to Mardi Gras with two of his buddies from Canada about 12 years ago. He's never had the desire to go back for Mardi Gras.

My son came home from school today (Shrove Tuesday) with a set of green beads. He said they were from his teacher. He won't let me have them to wear and won't tell me why.

Copyright © 2010 Tammy Lochmann

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    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

      Hi lita... my children are fascinated by any type of unusual or new tradition. I home educate them I bet the children in your neighborhood would eat this up. Hope u introduce them. thanks for reading!

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

      A sweet hub, but I'm bringing down my calories. I love the King Cake Party idea- the neighborhood kids would love it for the Feast of Epiphany which we celebrate in town first week of January. I love the beads, they're safer to get hooked to. I'll read more about Mardi Gras. Thank you.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      tonymac...Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind remarks. Tammy

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Really super Hub, thank you. Was wondering how they are made and then saw the link to KCC's Hub and followed that. Thanks

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      2patricias...We had pancakes on Shrove Tuesday too. I was born and raised in Canada. I like writing about local customs. Thanks for stopping in.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Interesting Hub. It is fun to find out about local customs. Here in England we have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Duchess...Thank you my friend. We had a great time in the Big Easy... I don't have any ambition to actually attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans...too many crazy people, besides there is more than enough fun to be had any other time in New Orleans and how about those Saints!!!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      Sounds delightfully sinful :) I'm with the rest, I have never heard of this before either. But I will be on the lookout for them. If Gus is right - I don't want to try my hand at making one. Simple, easy - those things work best for me.

      I'd love to take in a Mardigras - just for the experience. Hope you have (or had) a blast while in New Orleans with the family.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      prasetio30...Thank you for such a nice comment. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I never know about this cake before. But for me this is special cake. And why this cake namely by the "King Cake", I think because the taste was delicious. Thanks, Tammy.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      TINA V...Thanks girl. Haven't seen you much have you been busy? You can never be too sweet LOL

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 7 years ago

      It's good to read your hubs again. I like King Cakes, too. But we don't often buy it because my family has a history of diabetes. Oh gosh, I need to limit the sweetness in our family. lol! This is a great hub!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Maita...Thank you for sharing that with me. You friend is lucky to have you. I will be going to NewOrleans in a few weeks for a little fun with my family. I can't wait.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      Hi Tammy, I just came back again from LOUISIANA, I told you aboput my last visit, she gave birth and I took care of her, her hubby is in IRAQ, I have to drive her to the nearest hospital and she was well taken care of, and I remember you, hardworking nurses there as well, LOL, I am just sharing it to you, thank you, Maita

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Holle, did you try one?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I just had to tell you - they're selling king cakes in the grocery stores here. First time I've ever seen this!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Cheeky Girl...Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I bet there are all kinds of really cool celebrations in the UK.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      We dont have Mardigras here in UK. Bummer. I would love to see one for real! Fat tuesday! Wow! Sounds calorific! Heh! Seriously, I learned something new today! Thanks Tammy!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      sheila b...it is good, I actually never tried it until the last couple of years when I wanted to do something special with the kids during Mardi Gras. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      I hadn't known about King Cake. It sounds good.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      jayjay40....Thank you for reading. King Cake is yummy.

    • jayjay40 profile image

      jayjay40 7 years ago from Bristol England

      king cake sounds yummy, I have never heard of it before. great hub

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Gus...sure email me the recipe and I'll put it on here. I am no baker either but hey someone might want to take a stab at it. I bought me a king cake too, they are rather expensive but I have kids so it didn't go to waste.

      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment I always enjoy seeing you!

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 7 years ago from USA

      Yo Tammy - Somewhere around here I have the recipe and instructions for making those King cakes. If you or anyone wants the recipe deal, holler at me. Way too complicated for this old Redneck. (Also, I do not especially cotton to the doggone feisty things - hard to make 'em, seems to me.) Around here you can buy them in the grocery store. Cost a bundle. (I ran out of bundles some time back...)

      Gus :-)

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Micky...I'm sure the dead possum appreciated the beads too. LOL...That is strange for sure.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      I've never been to Mardi Gras. I've seen cyclist who would put those beads over road kills in the roads though. It does dress up a dead possum. Thanks!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      yenajeon..Oooh a Paula Deen fan. The cakes are delicious and my kids get a kick out of who gets to be the King or Queen. You are a brave girl to go to Mardi Gras...Maybe if I had been younger and less tired when I moved into the area I might have gone.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and make a comment. It's always nice to see you.

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 7 years ago from California

      Ooh I saw this exact thing on FoodChannel with Paula Deen's boys! I've always wanted to try a king cake but never have. Which is strange since I've been to Mardi Gras several times!!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Dgenr8...I should have known you had been someone who had partaken in the Mardi Gras festivities. I haven't been to Mardi Gras ( I don't do well with crowds) but I manage to visit New Orleans in particular the French Quarter several times a year.

      Ha ha make me laugh I just remembered they have warnings on the king cakes that the toys are choking hazards

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Maita...Thank you my friend it always look forward to seeing you. Hope your friend is doing well...I am going to New Orleans to celebrate my Birthday in March. Take Care!

    • Dgenr8 profile image

      Dgenr8 7 years ago

      Thanks for this Tammy, looks really tasty. I've been to Mardi Gras, and it was a hoot. But even without it, New Orleans is just so beautiful, and the people there are truly special. A coin in the cream cheese though, be careful! Sounds like a serious choking hazard :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      nice Tammy, thank you for all this information, I went to vist my friend who just gave birth last friday in New Orleans. It is fun to know about the bead and the Kings cake as well, Maita

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Warrior Princess...You would still be the queen for the day...even if you choked on the baby...They have been making them so that it is a baby stuck to a large coin so you probably won't choke. LOL Hope you have been having a good day today. Love to you!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Sage...Now that I am reading all these comments I am thinking about the cake too. I had a piece for breakfast yesterday morning. But my son ate the rest of it last night.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Holle...Ooops My 8 year old ate the last piece. It'll have to be next year they have stopped making them now. Maybe when we all become rich from our magazine I'll throw us a big Mardi Gras party.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Mystique...so right about the weight shifter. Thank you for reading and taking the time to make a comment. I am always glad to see you. You always have something nice to say.

    • Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

      The IGNITER vs Corrupted Governments 7 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

      You know Rockstar, I have never even heard of this cake..and if you want to talk about being out of touch on things, I had no idea what "fat tuesday" was until I walked into work tonight and there was like a mardigras going on ? I had no idea! dugh to me.

      Interesting of Herod and the search for Jesus! Really interesting hub.

      What I can tell you without a doubt-if I ate one of them and there was a coin or a pea or anything hidden inside, I would be that one to find it--but I would be choking on it and you would have to come over and karate chop my back...would I still be considered queen for the day anyways?? Hahahahaha (I need to go to bed--getting silly)

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 7 years ago

      I'm still thinking about the king cake. Sounds delicious. Cinnamon and cream cheese. mmmmm.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Never had any King Cake. Would you send me a slice or two? Help a sista out!

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Hey, Tam...

      Great hub here, my friend! I didn`t know much about Mardi Gras, and much less about King Cake which sounds delicious and also a weight shifter, hahaha! Nice, I learned something new! Thanks for sharing this!

      Thumbs up!

      warm regards and blessings,

      Al

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      bat...I thought it was interesting too...so I wrote about it. I just can't help myself.

    • bat115 profile image

      Tim 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I was unfamiliar with King Cakes before reading this. Interesting background on it.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Ita..Next year I will send one to you okay You will love it.

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 7 years ago from Irl

      Oh ,I need a slice now -any chance?? Great interesting hub.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Sis...Thanks for stopping in and I am glad I could invoke some fond memories for you. I hope I see some stories about your times in Louisiana. That would really be cool.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 7 years ago from Central Texas

      I lived in Louisiana and loved the Mardi Gras time -- you brought back fond memories to this old lady - thanks! Best, Sis

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image
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      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Dohn...Loaded with calories, yes. The best ones are the ones you get in New Orleans.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Sad to say I haven't try King Cake before but I'd like to now that I read about it :) This wouldn't by chance be loaded with calories and sugar would it? I mean if it's as good as you say, it has to be, right?