Although we tend to think of Mardi Gras as a giant party held in the streets of New Orleans, the holiday’s foundation is a religious season. Mardi Gras refers to both the season of Carnival and the specific celebration of Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, which is the day before Lent begins. It’s also known as Kings Day, or the day when the three wise men (the three kings) delivered their gifts to the baby Jesus.
The residents enjoyed a colorful afternoon filled with traditions that all revolved around Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday… beads, masks, jazz music and the kings cakes! The king’s cake is the fun part of the afternoon. We deliver a slice of this very colorful French pastry to each person at the party and ask them not to eat it until everyone is served. The reason behind that is that the king’s cake is to honor the three kings. The cakes were made circular to portray the circular route used by the kings to get to the Christ child. In these early King Cakes, a bean, pea, or coin was hidden inside the cake. The person who got the hidden piece was declared king for the day or was said to have good luck in the coming year. The king cake features the royal colors of gold, purple, and green. Gold represents power, purple represents justice, and green signifies faith. The shape of the cake symbolizes the unity of faiths.
Today, a miniature plastic baby, which symbolizes baby Jesus, is placed inside of each cake to signify the Epiphany. The person who gets the slice that contains the baby is known as the king. They are charged with the responsibility of bringing a king cake to the next event. Here at Brightmore, we decided we would go with the early tradition and the resident who found the baby would have a year of Good Luck!